On May 22, 2017 a suicide bomber executed an attack outside the Manchester Arena. Thousands of men, women, and children were exiting the arena after attending an Ariana Grande concert when the bomb went off. The attack resulted in the death of 22 innocents, including children, and the injury of hundreds more.
Ariana's fan base is considered very young, so for many of the attendees, it was their first concert. Others, it was their first time seeing their favorite singer live. Others still were in attendance as chaperones or just accompanying their friends in the hopes of a fun night. But instead they were greeted with one of the worst terror attacks in recent history.
But why should the concert goers have expected anything less? Why should they not have thought they would go to a concert, dance, sing, and return home safely with a whole store of new and exciting memories. For many, music is what keeps them sane; it keeps them safe. But in this instance it was music that broke them, bruised them, and stole precious lives from them.
Music allows people to escape from the hostility of our world for even just a moment, so when that hostility is brought into what many people consider a safe place, they become scared -- terrified even. As a fan of Ariana Grande, it was difficult for me to listen to the music that I love so much in the days following the attack. All I could think about was the loss and injuries that came with the terror attack. As a concert goer, I became worried of what might happen should I attend another show. Performances no longer seemed like the carefree environment I have come to know and love.
In feeling that way, though, we take away from the power of music and the sense unity that it provides us. Just one song can be enjoyed by people of all different races, religions, gender identities, and sexual orientations. When we listen to music, it does not matter what we look like, what our religious practices are, or who we love. I have gone to countless concerts and met plenty of people along the way. Not once is there ever any hostility or judgement or hatred. We are there, listening to the music for one reason: to have fun and escape the realities of the world outside the venue.
In a recent statement regarding the attack, Ariana Grande said, "Our response to this violence must be to come together, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before... Music is something that everyone on Earth can share... Music is meant to heal us, to bring us together, to make us happy."
It is important to live by those words.
Music holds a power far greater than any evil on this earth and we cannot let what happened in Manchester take that power away from us. As Ariana said, we need to use this attack as a reason to come together and fight back. We need to let those who thought they could break us know we will not be broken. Men, women, and children have come together in the wake of the attack to hold vigils, raise money for the victims and their families, and offer their unending condolences to anyone and everyone involved. Ariana will return to Manchester to hold a benefit concert, and she has also offered to pay for the funerals of the victims.
Without a doubt, this attack caused a worldwide terror when it comes to attending concerts. That's why they are called terror attacks, after all, and the success is measured on how the world reacts. The only way to stand up and fight back is to show them that they have not scared us, but brought us closer together -- to show them that they can not and will not ever take away the safe space that is music.