On Saturday, we marked one year since an unspeakable act took place in the heart of our city.
For those who were there that day, one year since you witnessed the most inconceivable carnage.
For those injured, one year of pain, recovery, and bravery.
And for those families who lost someone, one year since your loved one never made it home.
For many of you, every single day since then – perhaps every single hour – has been marked by the kind of grief that is beyond description.
No words will ever be enough. Nothing can ever undo the damage.
But I hope that there is some small measure of comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
Whether a mourner, a witness, a survivor, a first responder –
Our state stands with you. We stand with you.
We saw that response in the moments that came after.
Those heroes, who, without thought for their own safety, rushed towards the danger.
Who made phone calls, who checked pulses, who held hands.
As one witness put it, those “everyday saints”.
We saw the bravery of our paramedics, firefighters and police, and the skill of our nurses and doctors.
Those cool, calm heads who, without a moment’s hesitation, swung into action.
We saw it in the days that followed too –
The outpouring from every corner of our state.
The grandmothers from Victoria’s north who made that long trip, just to pay their respects.
The young dad who worked close-by, who brought his young daughters to lay a bunch of flowers.
And the thousands of ordinary Victorians who offered what they could – cards and letters, thoughts and prayers.
To that one single act of evil, we responded with countless acts of empathy, compassion and most importantly, love.
I believe there’s no greater testament to the spirit of this state.
And looking out today, all of us in this building, and those gathered outside it –
It’s clear that spirit – that sense of solidarity – is as strong as ever.
It means that even as the years and decades pass, 20 January will forever be etched in our minds.
And those we lost will forever live on in our hearts.
As one small note left at the scene put it simply and profoundly:
“We may not have known you – but we will always remember you.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020