In memory to those who did not make it through the day
I experienced something very special yesterday. 22nd July 2011 was the grimmest, most tragic day Norway has ever gone through. And Norway, I mean almost the whole of Oslo came together to stand in memory of those who did not make it through the bombing and shooting. What happened.
I didn’t know about the concert until I was surrounded by the crowd holding individual rose stalks at Rådhusplass (Town Square). I thought it was a free Bruce Springsteen concert! Even in the rain and cold weather, everyone stood so still as the event organizers presented musical tributes, genres from country to Sammi to rap to orchestra. Norwegian and international artists performed one after another. Some of the young survivors had their say on the situation. Local writers gave their poetic articulation about what happened and the sadness they feel. Norway’s Prime Minister gave a speech, briefly translated by my Norwegian friend that he expressed his pride in how everyone reacted to this tragedy. Instead of hatred, everyone responded in love. We remember those who died by celebrating the life we so fortunately have.
Though I hardly understood anything they presented, except for catching one or two words they said, I felt the emotions running high. Our friend said he’d understand if we wanna go home cuz we’ve no idea what they’re saying, but not one bit of me wanted to leave. Though I was shivering and needed to pee, I wanted to stay on to see what else they’ve got. The sensation of sadness mixed with celebration was so thick I could not move my legs.
The concert ended with a local singer singing “god natt, kjære Oslo, god natt”. (Good night dear Oslo, Good night) And another song that seemed like a very famous Norwegian song that everyone knew the lyrics to. It was so amazing when they put the lyrics up on the screen, and I could sing to it. I felt like one of them!
When the tragedy happened, I only read about it in the news. It was so far away from me then. I had nothing to do with it. That was one year ago. And now that I’ve come this close to the scene, and being soaked in the amazing reaction of those who were directly affected, it’s indescribable. It reminded me how fragile life is, and how each life means the world to another.
A random/silly though: what if someone else comes and does another shooting right here at this concert?
I immediately turned to Tim and told him how much he means to me, just in case I wouldn’t make it through the cold night. Just in case…
To those who lived and were loved… you are still loved.