Wednesday 12th October marks the 20th anniversary of the devastating Bali Bombings. The event shook the world and has left hundreds of families with incomparable grief that they will carry for there rest of their lives. A total of 202 people died in the attack on Paddy’s Bar and Sari Club in 2002.
The victims included 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians, and 23 British citizens. Services have been held across Australia to mark the anniversary, and hundreds gathered at the Ground Zero Monument on Legian Street in Bali.
At the event held in Legian today, family, friends, and even some people who survived the attack came together to commemorate those who lost their lives. Flower wreaths were laid, interfaith prayers were shared, and a traditional Balinese dance was performed as a message of peace to the world.
The event was organized by LPM Kuta. Speaking on behalf of the organizers, I Putu Adnyana told reporters, ‘Now is the time for us to maintain peace, to help each other. This prayer for peace started from Kuta and is offered to the whole world’. For many, the impact of the tragedy remains raw.
One attendee at the event in Legian, Pablo Wijaya from Indonesia, who now lives in Sydney, came to the event to remember his colleague. He told reporters, ‘He is my friend. As a sense of empathy for my colleagues, especially the Balinese who were victims of the Bali Bombing I, I hope they are happy in heaven.
Karl Williams has lived in Bali for 13 years and laid a floral tribute at the Ground Zero monument today. He told local reporters, ‘I love Bali. I used to love coming to the Sari Club, and this (bomb) made me quite emotional, many people died, Indonesian, Australian…Thank you, Indonesia, for making a memorial to commemorate the victims.
Many holidaymakers in Bali paused their vacation activities to pay their respects at the monument in Legian. In Australia, there has been extensive media coverage commemorating the events of October 2002, with dozens of people coming forward to share their stories. Hundreds of people have headed to Bali specifically to be present at today’s memorial.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attended a memorial service at Coogee in Sydney. He said, ‘We think of them with the ache of knowing they should still be here, their senses filled with everything we feel now…So many futures were stolen that night. We think of every conversation never had, every moment of love never known…We think of those who survived, and those who helped — what they saw that night will never leave them’.
During the service, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong praised the heroism of those impacted by the attacks, especially survivors and first responders, as well as consulate staff and rescue teams who launched into action.
She said, ‘Today we remember what was taken, today we remember what was lost…While an act of terror might shake us, it can’t change us. The worst of humanity brought out the very best. Survivors became saviors, somehow overcoming their pain’.
Since the tragedy, relations between Indonesia and Australia have steadily strengthened, and Indonesia’s ambassador for Australia, Siswo Pramono, praised the special relationship between the two nations during commemorative speeches today.
Pramono said ‘Indonesia and Australia are not just neighbors. More importantly we are partners…Just as a partnership works, Indonesia and Australia provided support to each other during difficult times…I would like to reiterate the unwavering commitment from Indonesia to combat terrorism, the people of Indonesia stand strong against terrorists that threaten our democracy’.
At a memorial event held in Nusa Dua, turtle hatchlings were released into the ocean, and trumpeted sounded to commemorate the victims of the attacks. Inspector General Pol Marthinus Hukom hosted the event at Mengiat Beach. He told reporters, ‘The trumpet is our contemplation. If we contemplate at the Heroes Cemetery, we always play it to add solemnity…Essentially we remember the spirits who died and appreciate them that they lost their lives’.
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