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London Residents Remember Subway Bombing 10 Years Ago


This morning in London, subway trains and buses stopped mid-route. The nation was observing a minute of silence. It marked 10 years since suicide bombers staged the worst terrorist attack on British soil. The attackers blew up three subway trains and a bus. Fifty-two people were killed. More than 700 others were injured. We're going to hear now from some of the people who lived through that day.

PAUL OSBORNE: I just remember turning the corner and just seeing this sea of people starting to leave the underground station.

RON DOBSON: At various points during the day, I had a very strange feeling. It felt like an exercise.

OSBORNE: I'm Paul Osborne. I'm a firefighter within the London Fire Brigade. It was almost like some of our drills, some of our training scenarios that we undertake. And I remember thinking, well, that's really strange. We haven't been told of any training scenario. And, you know, it looks really realistic.

DOBSON: My name's Ron Dobson and I'm the London Fire Commissioner. It was a devastating experience. It certainly changed my life forever. I'm a different person since 7/7 than I was before, there's no doubt about that.

JOHN FALDING: I'm John Falding. I was a partner of Anat Rosenberg, who was killed on the bus in Tavistock Square. For some reason this morning we got up and we were in our sort of bathrobes ready to have a bit of breakfast, and she seemed a bit disconcerted. And she just said, hold me. And so we lay on the bed and just cuddled, and I held her for a quarter of an hour. That quarter of an hour - that cuddle - really killed her because she left at 9 o'clock instead of a quarter to 9.

PETER HOLDEN: I was working in an office, the main room of which overlooks exactly where the bus blew up. Just as the bomb blew, everything went salmon pink then we heard the bang. And that, in fact, was the pressure wave hitting us. Everything going salmon pink, it just distorts your eyeballs very fractionally. I'm Dr. Peter Holden. I'm a family physician. I'm also trained as a major incident commander, and I'm a flight physician on an air ambulance. My team consisted of eight different faiths and none. We dealt with 15 different nationalities amongst the entire population that came our way. And we'd created this casualty clearing station in what was a war memorial to the medical dead of both World Wars. I just hope we did them proud.

JACQUI PUTNAM: I know I'm not the same person, but I couldn't tell you how. My name's Jacqui Putnam, and I survived the London bombings. I was on the Edgware Road train. When I was interviewed by the police, they brought with them an evidence bag and they said will I put my clothes into it. And they would collect it - the clothes - if they needed to. So I did, and they didn't collect it. And I put it in the loft. Well, last week, I looked at the clothes and felt them, and smelled them. And the smell had faded and they didn't have this power over me that they once did, and I was able to throw them away. And I felt as if a burden had lifted. It has taken 10 years. It was a good feeling.

SIEGEL: Survivors of the London bombings that took place 10 years ago today. The interviews were conducted by producer Rich Preston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
Rich Preston