Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's speech on the anniversary of the terrorist attack on Drottninggatan

Stockholm, 7 April 2018.

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Your Royal Highnesses, friends,

First of all, I would like to directly address those of you who lost a loved one.

One year has passed. One year of shock. Of sadness. Of grief.

But amidst all of this unfathomable pain, I understand that you also carry happy memories. Of a conversation, a smile, a look, a hug.

All of the things that formed your love, and that now make you miss that person so much.

But that also, in all of the darkness, can help us to celebrate life, because it has given us such wonderful people to love.

As the author Thornton Wilder wrote:

'There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.'

* * *

I hope that those of you who are grieving, those who were injured, those who bear the wounds of that day, feel the love, support and solidarity from an entire nation, and not least from all of us gathered here today.

We are here for you. You are not alone.

* * *

We are also here to pay tribute to all of those who responded when disaster called for you to act. All of you who gave up your free time, worked an extra shift and demonstrated love for your society.

You, the rescue workers, who put yourselves in harm's way to help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

You, the police officers, who worked tirelessly to protect people and catch the perpetrator, but who also took the time to comfort people and explain what was going on.

You, the medical staff, who worked long shifts, side by side, to provide the best care a modern society can offer.

You, the volunteers, who revealed the hero in you.

You have shown us the meaning of duty, sacrifice and courage.

I see you as fantastic role models for our young people, and as a reason to be proud of our country.

* * *

And one thing I remember clearly from that day is this:

Faced with this horrific, meaningless, fanatical hatred, there were so many people who chose to show such great empathy for each other.

Who held in their arms a despairing stranger.
Who offered to collect their neighbour's children.
Who said: We may not know each other, but I'm here if you need me.

Let us never forget this, when the history of our time is written.

When our society was at its most fragile, that's when our sense of community was at its strongest.

That is what survives.
That is what gives meaning.

 

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