Sea of tears
a man fought to stand while a woman was overcome by emotion.
If there was a symbol of the day it was a young woman in a headscarf holding up a young black woman as she sobbed until her body shook.
Everyone was full of care for each other – touching shoulders, whispering “You OK?”, linking arms.
The Soul Sanctuary gospel choir sang Something Inside So Strong and the lines “The more you refuse to hear my voice the louder I will sing” seemed to have a special resonance.
Organised by grassroots survivors and bereaved group Grenfell United, the event had an extraordinary power and authenticity.
“It wasn’t just us, it was everyone,” said Shahin Sadafi, GU’S chair, whose family escaped the fifth floor of the tower. “This community is amazing.”
Natasha Elcock, one of the organisers, said: “We know we’ve earned the respect of the country by the way we have dealt with this – with dignity and determination, not just anger.”
Ahead of the national silence, bereaved families were invited to light candles at St Helen’s church.
A total of 73 doves were released, one for each lost soul and one for any who may have gone uncounted.
As the day went on, every culture’s custom was quietly observed – wreath laying, flickering candles, prayers, planted trees, poetry and shared food. At 5pm Grenfell converged at St Clements church, as it had a year ago when survivors huddled inside, waiting for news in the 30C heat.
But the moment the community needed most of all came later, as thousands gathered at the Maxilla Hall Social Club, another vital help during those first hours, days and weeks.
A year ago, volunteers in this downto-earth restaurant and club run by Albert Walsh and his son Joe collected more than 4,700 boxes of donations.
It is 11 months since Zeyad Cred organised the first silent monthly walk around the tower perimeter, when only a few dozen joined him.
On the six-month anniversary more than 2,500 people walked with him and, in recent months, more and more firefighters have started coming too.
Last night the walkers were in thousands, Jeremy Corbyn among them.
And there could be no doubt that the Grenfell community is more than just a phrase or idea – it is something unique forged from special people.
But every one, if they could, would wind back time to June 13, 2017.
As one woman said: “I wish every single day I could go back to the night I went to sleep before the fire, and this would all just be a terrible dream.”
TOGETHER IN PAIN People share hugs on first anniversary Dany Cotton consoles firefighter TEAM REMEMBERS England observing silence IN MEMORY Flowers and hearts in green procession Labour chief took part in walk
UNITY Downing Street is green
DRAMA Blaze in London flats