When Jack Klotz arrived in London in July 2005, his first day did not go quite the way he expected.
Klotz, a Main Campus faculty member, arrived in London the morning of the subway attacks that struck London July 7. Eighteen Temple students were also going to England for the communications school’s summer program.
“One of our students got stuck at a train station because the Tube was down,” Klotz said. “We had to send out a contingent, which turned out to be me, to pick her up.”
Fifty-two people were killed in four separate attacks on subways and buses. More than 700 people were injured. The Tube, as the subways in London are known, was not functioning completely until midway through August, when the students were returning to the U.S.
The students were undeterred by their unsettling first day in London, and none chose to return to the U.S. Maybe the Londoners rubbed off on them.
“The English handled things unbelievably well,” Klotz said. “The main difference was the British had dealt with terrorism and war on their soil, especially London. The United States has not.”
Classes and outings continued as normal. Klotz said the students, all of whom have completed their undergraduate studies, thought London showed that its reputation for being stoic is well-deserved.
Ken Livingstone, London’s mayor, quickly developed a plan of action to deal with the attacks and tension that lingered afterward. He rallied the Muslim community and involved them in both condemning the attacks and presenting a moderate Muslim voice. Also, he spoke about the diversity in London as a way to counteract the radical terrorist ideology.
On July 21, another bombing was attempted. This one, however, proved unsuccessful. Once again, Londoners were not rattled, for the most part.
“Nowhere was there a sense of panic,” Klotz said. He was eating lunch in a London café with his wife when he heard the news of the attempted bombings.
Despite these extremist attacks, four students who experienced that terrorist attack have since gone back to England. Some of them are in graduate studies, and one is currently working for the BBC. The students expressed to Klotz that it had been an experience well worth the frightening first day.
Klotz has not been back, although he says he cannot wait to return.
“More than I can recommend anything else,” he said, “I can recommend studying abroad.”
Stephen Zook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.