KNOXVILLE (WATE) – As investigators in London work to piece together what led to Saturday’s terrorist attack, many are trying to make sense of what happened.
Some of those include East Tennesseans who are traveling in the UK. Thankfully they’re okay, but they say they’re shaken after such terrifying moments.
On Saturday, Jesse Mayshark and his wife were just getting back from dinner in downtown London when he says they started seeing reports popping up on social media about something happening on the London Bridge.
“Hard to tell what’s going on. We could kind of hear sirens in the distance. So it was a little alarming because it wasn’t too far away from us, but of course we were home, safe in bed. It didn’t threaten us. It was just kind of shocking that it was close by,” said Mayshark.
Days beforehand, the Maysharks and their children had been touring London, so after the terrorist attack it was a struggle coming up with the words to explain it.
“When they woke up I just told them this happened last night but it’s okay and we’ll be okay and they were dismayed. They thought it was sad that it happened, but my kids like all kids these days, have grown up with this happening,” he added.
UT freshman Hannah James has taken many pictures of her visit to London, but images from this weekend are some that she’ll never forget.
“It’s just so crazy to think I was within steps of this place when it happened, within steps, and it could’ve just as easily been me,” said James.
James was jetlagged and asleep when the attacks happened, so understandably the last few days have been a whirlwind of “what ifs” and somber conversations.
“You could tell like, it was just heartache. You could tell the city was silent and you could just tell what everyone was thinking,” she said.
UT graduate Zach Fox is also vacationing in the UK and says he’s still thinking about what happened, knowing his hostel was right in between everything.
“There were sirens the whole time. We heard sirens until about 6 in the morning, all night long,” he said.
The sense of fear hasn’t consumed so many East Tennesseans traveling Europe or changed their plans.
“The government, the police and the military are out and it makes you feel better knowing they’re out and looking for people who are trying to cause problems,” said Fox.
While the city of London is quieter, many are seeing its strength.
“Their ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ attitude was there. Their city had been attacked, their people were dead, they’re still trying to get where they’re going. It was really impressive,” said Fox.
“They haven’t let it disrupt their way of life. They haven’t let it drive wedges between them based on race or ethnicity or anything else and I think that’s a good example for us to see,” added Mayshark.