- The Washington Times - Friday, July 8, 2005

From combined dispatches

LONDON — London’s financial district was a sea of pinstripe suits yesterday as workers tried to get home in a city crippled by bombings, all the while vowing one thing: to not change a single habit in response to the attacks.

“I always get the Underground and I’m not going to stop. I don’t want them to win. Not in any way,” said a 55-year-old insurance broker, the model of a London businessman in a soberly cut dark suit and pink tie.

“We’ve got a choice — do we let them affect us or not? I know what I think,” the man, giving his name only as Paul, told Agence France-Presse as he strode off looking for a taxi.

In the financial district known as the City, there was sparse traffic on the roads, but the sidewalks were packed with smartly dressed business people. Some chose to wait out the rush.

“There was a lot of anger. People were leaving for work, saying goodbye to their families and then — that was it. Lives destroyed,” said technology consultant Stephen Marstone, who was sitting on a bench in the shadow of the Bank of England building with his civil servant girlfriend, Helen Kelman. “Now I think there is more defiance, a decision to not let it change us.”

In Singapore, where the announcement of London’s winning the 2012 Olympic Games was made a day earlier, London Mayor Ken Livingstone cut a somber, but resolute, figure yesterday.

“Londoners will not be divided by these cowardly attacks. They will stand together in solidarity around those who have been injured. … Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail,” he said.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who was yards away from one of the deadly London explosions yesterday, said the bombings were an “eerie reminder” of the September 11, 2001, attacks and praised Londoners’ “resolved and determined response” to the attacks.

“As we were walking through and driving through the streets of the city, it was remarkable how the people of London responded calmly and bravely,” he told Sky News television.

“In a strange way a lot of our response to September 11 was modeling ourselves as much as we could on the people of London during the Second World War and the incredible way they withstood the attacks during the Battle of Britain,” he added.

In fact, terrorists couldn’t have picked a more resilient city to attack than London.

From Catholic dissidents, militant suffragettes, the kaiser’s zeppelins, Adolf Hitler and the Irish Republican Army, the city has been bombed repeatedly through its 2,000-year history and has always bounced back, Scripps Howard News Service reported.

This November, London is commemorating the 400th anniversary of one of its most notorious bomb plots: the efforts of Guy Fawkes and a group of Catholic dissidents backed by Spain to blow up Parliament and kill King James I.

This year also marks the 90th anniversary of the first attempts by Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm to bomb Britain into submission with zeppelin attacks that started in 1915 and ended only with the armistice in 1918.

The sporadic bombs dropped by zeppelins only increased British resolve to defeat Germany — similar to Londoners’ reactions during the greater devastation of the Blitz in World War II. Some of the “Tube” stations targeted in yesterday’s attacks were used as bomb shelters during those wartime years when Edward R. Murrow broadcast to America about “you know, stiff upper lip and all that sort of thing.”

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