During the 2005 London Bombings, my Aunt Lorna was running late for work. If she hadn't been, she would have been on one of the trains hit. She could have been among the 52 dead or over 700 injured that day.
During the Manchester Bombing, I felt true fear from a terror attack like nothing in America had made me feel. My mother and younger brother were traveling to England in a week. I remembered all the planes that have gone missing over the past decade. I had (what I thought was) irrational fear that I would get a call at work informing me that their plane has gone missing.
During the dual attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market this Saturday, a day before joining my family in England, my mother called telling me to watch the news, and my father warned me to be extremely careful while traveling. He was so worried, he almost made me stay here in the U.S.
I am a British-American. I possess dual-citizenship. All of my family either lives in England or has British heritage, and I have this no-longer-irrational fear that one of my family members will actually be on the next train that explodes, or that my cousins will be victims of the next school shooting, or that my grandmother will be on the bus that slams through traffic.
The people of England have suffered three terror attacks in just over two months. Clearly, this is devastating to our country. So why does the rest of the world seem content to act like it isn't with only a sad frown over their daily coffee? (Note that besides internet articles, the three news channels I get on my TV didn't mention anything about the attacks until 11 p.m. EST, over five hours after the attacks started.)
As much as I hate to say it, it's nearly-impossible to kill an idea. The ideologies behind terror attacks aren't going away anytime soon, so we have to fight back; it's the only way to stop them from winning.
But how do you stop an idea? For me, doesn't necessarily mean I go to war with a gun, I'm not that kind of soldier.
It means I will still be English, and extremely proud of it in the face of those who claim I shouldn't be. It means I get on that plane and see my family this summer.
I know that by helping each other, like the residents of Manchester and London are helping the people who are stranded, scared, and confused are today, we start winning simply by keeping our heads up and refusing to break.
I know we infuriate those who want to keep us down, because we won't "carry on and drink tea". We'll fight back, and we'll bloody well drink our tea while we do it.
It means we can't forget these attacks and let them fade into the background of a newspaper article on page four. We can't forget that we don't change what we stand for as we show the world that this is important, and that we care.
The British are stubborn. Well, stubborn people don't like to lose, and if that means facing ISIS head on, then that's what has to be done.
We might only be college students (and you might not be British,) but all people have a voice, and it can be a loud one (as history has proven). Let's make sure that it's heard while we fight back.