Today is a day of mourning, sadness and lament for every one of us.
On February 22nd we rose from our beds as happy or sad as most days find us. Perhaps it was your birthday or anniversary; the first day at a new job; the deadline for an assignment; all the usual routine and momentous events happened as per normal.
Right up until 12.51 when the earth moved beneath our feet and our world fell apart.
At 12.51 we were witnesses to the loss of lives: infants and pensioners; kiwis and internationals; residents and visitors; language students and teachers; parents, sisters, brothers, friends and colleagues.
We, the survivors, witnessed the life-changing moments of all those who were injured badly.
We who were ordered to walk home knew emergency crews were fighting to save lives and free the trapped.
We heard the sirens and we saw the smoke. And we know there are those who are still missing. Our hearts go out to those who wait.
February 22nd will be a day remembered in Canterbury history; and you, the living, will tell the story of where you were when it all happened at 12.51.
But that is not the only story you will tell.
For you the living and the bereaved, you the survivors, you, the emergency crews and student army; you, a person of faith or no faith at present, you will also have opportunity to tell the story of what came after the tragedy of February 22.