The Glade of Light memorial to the Manchester Arena bombing victims opens to the public today
The city center memorial to the victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack was opened to the public today, council heads confirmed.
The suicide bombing of May 2017 left 22 people dead and hundreds injured.
The Glade of Light Memorial is a white marble “halo” bearing the names of those who lost their lives in the atrocity.
The bereaved families made personalized memory capsules containing memories and messages that were embedded inside the halo last month.
They also had the opportunity to visit in private before the memorial opens to the public today – Wednesday.
An official opening ceremony is scheduled for the spring, before the fifth anniversary of the attack.
The Tribute is designed as a living memorial – a peaceful garden space for remembrance and reflection, featuring plants that grow naturally in the British countryside and have been selected to provide color throughout the year and echo the changing seasons.
Around the anniversary of the bombing each year – May 22 – the white flowers of a hawthorn planted in its center will bloom.
An exterior circular path, including seating, has been included to allow people to linger longer in the garden while still maintaining the privacy of the halo area.
Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett who lost her life in the bombing, told the Manchester Evening News: “The memorial is very important to the city of Manchester, as well as to bereaved families and all those who have been injured, physically and psychologically.
“It was an attack on the city and democracy.
“The memorial is for the people of Manchester as well as for us and future generations, so schoolchildren and young people are made aware of what happened.”
Councilor Bev Craig, Head of Manchester City Council, said: “We will never forget those whose lives were lost on 22 May 2017.
“They already had a permanent place in the hearts of the people of Manchester. Now they have a lasting memorial in the heart of our city.
“The Glade of Light is a beautiful tribute to them and somewhere that will also have deep meaning for all those affected by the attack.
“We hope that the memorial site will be a place of peace and comfort, remembering that love is stronger than hate.
Joanne Roney OBE, Executive Director of the Board, added: “The Glade of Light is a visible demonstration that we will never forget what happened. It was not an ordinary project for everyone involved in its creation.
“We hope that the love which made it possible to create it will shine.”
The memorial is located between Manchester Cathedral and Chetham’s School of Music, where Fennel Street meets Victoria Street.
The fences around the site, where work began in March of last year, were taken down today for public viewing.
The attack claimed the lives of six children under the age of 16, the youngest being only eight.
Bomber Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a device in a backpack at 10:31 p.m. on May 22, 2017, as spectators left an Ariana Grande concert on site.
Abedi’s brother Hashem Abedi, now 24, is serving at least 55 years behind bars for helping his brother prepare for the attack.
The Manchester Arena public inquiry into the atrocity, meanwhile, is set to resume after the Christmas recess on January 10.
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