Just before 12 noon today my colleagues and I walked onto the London street outside the Holborn office where we work. It was a bright, hot sunny day in Central London. The kind of day that has you sweating within moments of being on the street. When we reached street level we walked into a crowd of people that had come from the buildings all around. These were office workers whose desks are probably just metres from mine but I don’t see them. I probably walk past them most days as I approach the door to the office but I just don’t see them. Today, we stood crowded onto the street together.
At 12 noon the bus turning the corner in front us stopped and the driver turned the engine off, right across the junction. The taxi at the traffic lights opposite didn’t move when the light turned green and the cyclist near him didn’t try and jump the red light. Most of the pedestrians who were walking stopped.
A silence descended upon London. Not the silence usually associated with a city. A city’s silence is usually punctuated by horns and alarms, by mobile ‘phones ringing or engines passing. No, this silence was eerily silent but it was silent.
And we bowed our heads to remember.
It was a moment when this huge, diverse city that I call home, was united in thought. It’s a moment I don’t think anybody who was there will forget.