7 October 2005

sometimes a citizen says it all

Hear Joe Frost, 20, speaking during the ceremony of remembrance at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Newcastle, last night:

For a lot of us here tonight, these have been the toughest days of our lives.

This kind of thing always happens to someone else. I've heard many people say that over the last few days and I've said it myself. But the reality is that bomb hit us that night, and it's hit our whole community, and so tonight we come here and as we said in the homily, we come with questions. Now one question on my mind is: why did this happen?

And apparently it's about religion. Apparently these wild, radical, whoever they are have decided that what we were doing was offensive to them. But we were eating dinner on the beach with our friends and families. Who does that offend? Who doesn't eat dinner with their family and friends? It's the most common thing in the world.

And now the cowards who planned and who advocate and champion this horrific act say that they are heroes and that the people who did it are heroes. But what's heroic about murdering the innocent and leaving families ruined?

But having been broken open, our hearts have been exposed, and the support and the strength that has been shown by the group who were together in Bali, while we were in Bali, was amazing.

We all leaned on each other and we all stayed positive. We even managed to make a few jokes. I managed to be the brunt of most of them because when the bomb went off it blew off my pants and I spent the night walking around in my undies.

(laughter from congregation)

Since coming home we tried to see each other every day, and as JK said, we're a family now.

But we've been bolstered by community support. I know for my family we got home on Monday and we found that our fridge was so stocked with groceries that there were some people who'd gone out and bought eskies so that there was more room to put the food in, and we had a bakery on the end of our table. And I was so grateful and proud to be a Novocastrian.

These are our darkest hours, the worst days of so many of our lives. This sad and sickening act has torn us open. But we'll stand together and we'll make it through.

audio here

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