Ah! Hate like this would freeze our human tears,
And stab the morning star;
Not it, not it commands and mourns and bears
The storm and bitter glory of red war.
R W Sterling. (Killed 23 April 1916.)
Our country covers the ground in Woolwich and memorials around it in a array of flowers, Help for Heroes merchandise and poignant notes. This is not being done in the honour of deceased Royalty, Fame or Parliament but for a fallen soldier and a man taken too soon and in unimaginable circumstances.
What makes this story different is that Lee Rigby didn`t meet death on a battle ground, in service or even in uniform. Lee Rigby didn`t even see his killers coming as he walked down an ordinary street in London, not far from his barracks. Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was killed in Woolwich on 22 May 2013. He was murdered in broad daylight after first being hit by a car then attacked with knives.
As he walked a car plowed into him and his murderers tried to behead him as he lay defenseless on the ground. Their reason for picking him was simple, he wore a H4H sweatshirt and so must be in the British forces.
I am not going to go into go into the whys or wherefores, as I feel that enough space has been given to that in the press and television. I have been shocked by the amount of hatred and racism it has ignited among social network sights and in the communities, I refuse to jump onto that bandwagon.
This man, in or out of uniform, was a Son, Brother, Father, Lover, Friend and Comrade. Pictures of him holding his two year old Son, a gentle reminder of the human side of this story. Seeing the overwhelming grief of his Family, estranged wife and Girlfriend. His loss felt, his ending a torturous nightmare for those that knew and loved him. Respect should be given not only for how he left this earth, but to help those that love and miss him to heal as I am sure the public outpouring will do as flowers surround streets, outside Woolwich barracks and war memorials around the country. Notes pinned to the flowers from ordinary people from all races, religions and backgrounds.
His story can be used in one of two ways; It can be a sad lesson to learn from or used to breed more hatred in the name of whatever they choose. I personally hope the majority will choose the first option and get to know their neighbours as people, no other way.
Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.
My last word on this tragedy is to praise the four women that showed compassion, bravery and empathy towards Lee Rigbys` last moments and for the safety of the people and children nearby.
Amanda Donnelly and Gemini Donnelly-Martin comforted the body of Lee Rigby as he lay in the road. French born, Ingrid Loyau-Kennet not only faced the killer but kept him talking to keep him from doing any further acts. The fourth woman was The Police Officer who shot the 2 suspects in Woolwich as one of the few female members of the Met’s elite firearms squad. All four women were courageous and selfless and there is now a cry for Amanda, Gemini and Ingrid to receive a Commendation.