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London, Post-7/7: Business As Usual

A year ago today, as I walked into Londons Liverpool Street Station, I saw dozens of police officers converging on it. I expected just another security alert. A bomb had just exploded on an underground train leaving the station, instead. That bomb killed seven people. A few days later, I snapped these floral tributes at the stations entrance. If they seem low-key, perhaps its because Londoners are no longer shocked by such attacks.Liverpool st1.jpgIn 1993, the Liverpool Street underground station was damaged along with many of the surrounding buildings by a huge IRA truck bomb. Only person was killed as a warning had been given and the area was being evacuated, but forty were injured.In 1940, the stations roof was shattered by bombing during the Luftwaffes Blitz on London. It escaped lightly, given that over 18,000 tons of bombs were dropped with 29,000 killed in London alone.But the stations most infamous bombing was in 1917. On June 13, 1917, twenty German Gotha bombers evaded defending fighters and attacked London. They hit Liverpool Street Station, killing sixteen and injuring thirteen. The raids killed over a hundred people around London, including many children, and the nation was horrified. For the first time, the capital of a powerful Empire had been attacked from the air, and civilians had not been spared. The Great War had arrived on the home front.With ninety years experience, its not surprising that Londoners seem hardened to the bombing. Few would expect this to be the last attack either. A docu-drama called Dirty War released in April 2005 used Liverpool Street Station as the site of a dirty bomb attack by terrorists.While the media may try to play up fears of further terrorism, sites like the wonderful We're Not Afraid capture the public mood. For most people, the signs put up on bomb-damaged shops in the Blitz really do sum it up: "Business As Usual."-- David Hambling

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