What sickening scenes on the streets of Greenwich last week.
For the young life of drummer Lee Rigby to be taken away in such circumstances is difficult to comprehend. He was doing a job he loved, serving the country he loved.
He had been posted to dangerous foreign lands, but had bravely gone about his job trying to make the world a safer place. Words cannot really begin to explain what Lee’s family are going through.
The thoughts of people and communities across Halifax will obviously be with them, not just last week, not just today, but in the weeks and months ahead.
Last Friday I attended a special gathering at the Parish Church led beautifully by Canon Hilary Barber. It brought together people from across the town to pay their respects, and showed a united front of respect and grief.
There was a genuine sense of loss. Halifax always has been, and always will be, a close knit town. Lee’s death, and his family’s loss, had already stunned our communities. That there was a link with our town only deepened the sense of mourning.
The bonds of love must not be broken by those who only seek to hate and divide. Let’s remember that across faiths, across countries and continents people would have found this murder utterly repellent.
We must remain united in defeating those who seek to divide.
The reaction of some brave people in Greenwich underlined this fact. Standing and confronting the attackers proves that we must never allow terrorist attacks to weaken us. That’s what Lee was in the army for. To protect our freedoms. To make us a safer country and a safer world. To ensure evil will not win out.
It was a tragic irony that he lost his life while walking the streets of London.
Lee will never be forgotten. If there is any comfort for the family, it is that people across Halifax, across all sections of our communities, stand united in grief with them.