"We are Manchester" - City defiant at concert in shadow of attack

LONDON, Bill Smith (dpa) - Britain's Manchester Arena reopened Saturday with a sell-out "We Are Manchester" concert to help expunge the memory of a May terrorist attack that killed 22 people.
A crowd of 14,000 - some of whom had lost loved ones - turned out for the event. Mayor Andy Burnham thanked them for their support.
"Thank you to the city for coming together," he said. "Thank you for being who you are. We are Manchester, a city united, nothing will ever change us, nothing will ever divide us."

Another highlight was the reading of a poem, "This Is The Place," by Tony Walsh, who performs as Longfella. Audience members could be seen in tears as he read the ode to the city.
"Tonight's going to be a very special and emotional event," he said.
But the memories of the May attack were never far away, especially as concertgoers had to walk through extra security, with large bags banned from the hall. The attacker detonated explosives he had brought into the foyer in luggage.
Charlotte Campbell, whose daughter Olivia, 15, was killed in the attack, attended.
"It feels surreal at the minute. We have had to come back to show defiance, to show we are not scared and we don't want Manchester to be scared.
"Music was Olivia's life. If she had been still here today she would have been walking through those doors with us, showing her defiance, that they may have got her but she's not beaten. She's here with us.
"It's a massive mix of emotions, there will be tears, there will be laughter, but the main thing is we are here. We have proved no one is going to beat us."
The attack came at the end of a show by US singer Ariana Grande. Many of those attending - as well as the victims - were teenage girls.
Aside from reclaiming the venue, the event was also designed to raise money for a memorial to the victims.
Acts performing included Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, The Courteeners, Blossoms, Rick Astley and DJ Clint Boon.
"May's events will never be forgotten, but they will not stop us - or Mancunian music fans - from coming together to enjoy live music," said James Allen, the venue's general manager, ahead of the show.
"Manchester Arena has celebrated over 20 years hosting some of the greatest musical talent of all time, and the significant economic and cultural impact that this has on the city means that this legacy must continue," Allen said.
Sue Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said Manchester had reacted to the May 22 attack "with love, solidarity and a determination to continue doing the things which make this such a vibrant city."
The reopening of the arena is a "powerful symbol of this defiant and resilient spirit," Murphy said.
Greater Manchester police said the main suspect, Salman Abedi, 22, was among those who died after detonating explosives in his luggage in a foyer at the arena.
The police said they believed Abedi, who had returned to Britain from Libya a few days before the attack, was part of a terrorist network.

Monday, September 11th 2017
Bill Smith

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