I remember the Commonwealth Games in 1974. I was a young teenager and the city was abuzz with excitement. I can still remember the song:
We’ve got to join together,
let our laughter fill the air
It’s time for every race and creed
to throw away their every care
Let sport unite us all as one
in the spirit of the lord above
And let us all remember
The games are for the fostering of
peace and love
Never would I have imagined 45 years later that the spirit of these words would be invoked in response to an atrocity such as we experienced on 15 March last year.
Although we will never forget the 51 people whose lives were taken, our memory of that time will always include the way we ‘joined together’.
We stood side-by-side regardless of ‘race or creed’. We were ‘united as one’, and the ‘fostering of peace and love’ was made real.
This act, which was inspired by hatred and was designed to divide us and tear us apart, instead united us with all our communities and embraced us in compassion and love.
The words of our Prime Minister and that of our local Muslim community leaders, who spoke of peace, love, compassion, unity and forgiveness, helped us through this time.
In a time of crisis, this is what the world needs to see and hear, and that’s what makes Christchurch such a special place.