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Londoners strong after terrorists strike

Church donates 20,000 to help victims of attacks

The Church will donate 20,000 to help victims of terrorist attacks that devastated London, England, July 7.

"Our thoughts have turned to the victims and their families and those who will require long-term treatment and care and seeing if through our humanitarian aid we can alleviate some of their suffering, or at least make a contribution to make life easier for them and their families," said Elder David S. Baxter, an Area Seventy and second counselor in the Church's Europe West Area.

No members or missionaries were injured when bombs exploded on three London underground subway trains in a coordinated attack the first week of July — one day after London won a bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. At least 52 people died in the blasts, which injured an additional 700 people — dozens seriously — and took place within a 50-second period during the morning rush hour. A fourth bomb went off 57 minutes later on one of the city's red double-decker buses.

The terrorist attacks were the deadliest in London since World War II.

"We know that trauma has been caused here to families that have been directly affected," said Elder Baxter.

However, he said there is very little Church members can do in the wake of the attacks. Donating to the fund set up by London Mayor Ken Livingstone and the British Red Cross is one sizeable way the Church can contribute, he said, noting that the 20,000 ($37,000 U.S.) will make a difference.

"Emergency services have coped. Everyone is going back to work. Everything is open for business," he explained.

"The spirit of the people of Britain is incredibly resolute and strong. . . ," he added. "The British people are absolutely determined that no terrorist, no bomb, no act of aggression will alter or affect their way of life or the principles they stand for."

London, he said, shut down in the hours after the attacks.

Missionaries in the England London Mission were traveling to a zone conference at the Hyde Park Chapel when the attacks occurred. One companionship was just outside King's Cross station at the time of the disaster and was evacuated, said Elder Jared Rowland, a missionary from Mesa, Ariz., who serves in the mission office.

Bishop William C. Wilcox of the Hyde Park Ward said his ward members also experienced several "uncomfortable close calls" and are now trying to understand "how someone could do that." However, he said, besides the general sadness and transportation inconveniences experienced by all Londoners, none of his congregation was directly affected. "Many felt they were watched over," he said.

By Friday, the day after the attacks, Elder Baxter said people were back to work. Then on Sunday, 250,000 Londoners gathered for a day of celebration to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. There were bands and parades, and poppies were dropped in honor of the victims of the terrorist attacks.

"There probably wasn't an event or an image that could represent better the strength of the British character than what took place on Sunday, less than 72 hours after this atrocity," Elder Baxter said. "Here was London and Londoners doing what they have always done, that is to stand and be strong."

That was no different for Latter-day Saints, who spent Sunday attending Church services.

Elder Rowland said members had a somber, but optimistic outlook. "Of course, they were worried about it," he said, "but they weren't dwelling on it too much."

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