Barcelona attack: Sydney boy remembered one year after deadly terror attack
One year since a young Islamist launched a deadly terror attack on the city of Barcelona, survivors, and families of the 14 victims returned to the scene for a memorial ceremony.
Clutching flowers, many broke down in tears as they stepped onto Las Ramblas, the busy promenade at the heart of the city which became a scene of bloodshed, panic, and ultimately heartbreak.
Sydney parents Jom and Andrew Cadman made the emotional journey from Australia, to lay flowers for their seven-year-old son, Julian.
This time last year, Jom and Julian had only just stepped onto the promenade when the terrorist struck.
They became separated in the chaos, and Jom was seriously injured, in a coma for several days. She woke to the news little Julian had died at the scene.
Meantime, his father Andrew had made the panicked flight from Sydney to search for his son.
Julian was the youngest victim, and became the innocent face of the appalling attack, carried out by a terror cell intent on committing evil.
At 5pm on August 17, 2017, 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaquob drove a rented van through the popular strip, mowing down and killing 14 people.
More than 130 were injured.
He ran from the scene, stabbing a stranger to death to steal a getaway car and ramming a police checkpoint.
A few hours later, five terrorists in fake suicide vests rammed their car into crowds on the seaside promenade of Cambrils, south of Barcelona. They were all killed in a shoot out with police.
It was another four days before authorities finally caught up with the Las Ramblas driver, Younes Abouyaaqoub, at a petrol station south of Barcelona, where they shot him dead.
All twelve members of the terror cell were either taken into custody or killed, their actions leaving a country united in grief, and the determination not to life in fear or anger.
Today, Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, the country’s Prime Minister, survivors of the attack and victims’ families gathered in Barcelona to pay tribute. After families lay flowers, a choir sang and representatives from every country touched by the tragedy read poetry.
It was a touching ceremony, and a chance for people to come together and grieve and also to look forward.
But for those left behind, there will always be questions.
Fiona Wilson made the journey from Canada to be here today to honour her parents, who were on Las Ramblas that day.
“I wonder if they had just spent another minute at lunch, or if he had been standing two feet over from where he was, or if their plans had been different,” said Fiona.
Her father Ian was killed, her mother Valerie is still recovering from her injuries.
“I also know that life is like that, and there is never going to be an answer for those questions,” she added.