The Day I'll Never Forget // 22nd of July


5 years ago today, a Norwegian man bombed our parliament and, dressed as a policeman, shot 77 teenagers at a youth camp. Up until that day, everyone always thought 'no, something like that would never happen in Norway' and it was true. This was the worst act of terrorism in my country since the second world war. I don't think any of us have ever felt as vulnerable and disheartened as we did that day and the following months.

I remember sitting in the car with my mum and best friend and hearing the news on the radio. None of us believed it. In panic, we pulled over to the closest petrol station. We had to stop, silent, and take a few minutes to let it sink in. I remember frantically calling my cousin to check that they were alright, and she told me that they'd been in a nearby cinema at the time. Feeling the ground shake, they didn't know what it was, because this is little peaceful Norway and no one ever expects anything that bad. 

That night, I sat up with my mum. Until the early hours of the morning, we stared at the tv, seeing the number of deaths just rise and rise. Counting them, and as they rounded 10, 20, 50, we could no longer see them as individual people.

These were all teenagers, barely older than myself at the time. I couldn't comprehend the fact that these weren't just numbers, they were people with actual lives. They all had families and friends who I'm sure had all spent the night screaming down the phone in tears, or at the edge of a hospital bed. They all had homes, schools and communities that they belonged to, and pets who would never understand why they didn't come home.

I wasn't directly affected by this attack. I didn't know any of the victims. But still, I've walked past tombstones at my local church with the date 22.07.2011engraved on them. I didn't know any victims, but I knew of them. A girl who went to a school in my town. The brother of an acquaintance. People I've never met who I wouldn't otherwise spare a thought to. I've seen the graves covered by flowers at all times of the year. I've seen memorial services, and I've seen parades walking through the capital with roses every year to remember what happened.

Everyone always thinks that nothing would ever happen here. In our beautiful country full of empty valleys and fjords, nothing like this could ever take place. We're known for our peace, and every tiny thing makes the news here. The weather is often front-page news, and if someone is as much as reported missing, it'll take over the news for three days straight. 

22nd of July is a special day for all of us. A lot of us, including me, go about my day as usual. I do all the things I usually do, but it's in the back of my mind all day. The sun doesn't shine quite as brightly this day, and nobody's smiles quite as wide. Although it's been five years, we're all still in mourning. For the victims, yes, but also for the serenity of our country that got stolen that day. 

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  1. This is such an amazing post and I'm so proud of you for writing this Amanda. I was only 9 when this happened, and I had no idea. Terrorism is such a terrible and disgusting thing and it hits me hard a lot if the time. Thank you for writing this, its so honest and true. My thoughts and love is with you and the victims' families and friends xxx
    Charlotte <3 Xxx

  2. This is such a lovely post! I am sorry such a tragic event happened in your country, you are very brave to write about it and express your emotions. The world can be such a cruel place sometimes xx

    Thrifty vintage fashion

  3. It's nice to know you're living in a peaceful country, I wish it was like this everywhere in the world and it was all good and no bad. This post made me feel all emotional and it's making me sad everything that's going on at the moment, too many beautiful lives are being taken/have been taken :(

    Claire ❤| My Little Memoir

  4. May those whose lives have been taken away, may their souls rest in perfect peace. I love how you were able to write about this so openly... I do wish things were different.
    I really do love the layout of your blog too! Take care x

  5. So proud of you for writing this, it definitely showed how acts of terroism are timeless and that they still have an effect years later xx