The West

Service  reflects on loss
Guests queue to enter the commemoration service for the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombing in Garuda Wisnu Kencana cultural park in Jimbaran.

Ten years on from the horror in Bali, hundreds have gathered at a moving service on a hill high above Kuta to honour the memory of the many lives lost in the 2002 bombings.

The Sari Club, in the bustling tourist area of Kuta, was levelled when a massive bomb loaded into a van parked outside was detonated just after 11pm on October 12, 2002.

About 20 seconds earlier, a suicide bomber had detonated a backpack loaded with explosives inside Paddy's Bar.

The co-ordinated attacks, which were partly funded by al-Qaida, killed mostly foreigners, including 88 Australians, and injured scores more.

At the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in Jimbaran, survivors and the loved ones of those killed came together on Friday to mark the 10th anniversary of the outrage which shattered so many lives.

The service began to the sound of a gamelan orchestra - a sound synonymous with Bali - and was followed by a multi-faith service attended by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other dignitaries from some of the 22 nations that lost people in the bombings.

Ian Whitley, a serving chaplain with the RAAF flew to Bali the day after the bombing, and spent many hours in the morgue at Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar giving care to the victims' friends and families.

Today, he called on those gathered to “remember this event and reflect on our loss”.

"We come here today from many different countries, from a variety of religious traditions and ethnic backgrounds, yet united by a tragic act of terrorism which occurred here in Bali 10 years ago,” he said.

“Some of you come bearing an irrevocable grief and loss and this is one of those occasions where it is fitting an appropriate to express those feelings, to cry, and join with others who share a similar loss.”

Candles placed on the edge of a pool of remembrance were then lit to represent the 22 nations that lost people in the bombings, and another six lit to represent the major faiths.

Made Bagus Arya Dana, the son of an Indonesian victim, was just 18 months old when the bombing occurred.

“I didn't understand the meaning of the tragedy,” he told the gathering in a reading titled “Letter for Daddy”.

“Now I am standing here, the same date and month when Daddy left us.” “I read this letter for you, Daddy, for all your love and sacrifice.”

Danny Hanley, whose two daughters were killed, also reflected on his loss.

“My eldest daughter Renae was right at the front door of the Sari Club when the blast occurred. She was one of the first to lose her life.”

His youngest daughter Simone was already inside the club and was the last Australian to die after fighting for her life for 58 days in Perth Hospital's Burns Unit.

“When I hear of the 88 Australians that died, I shed a tear. My beautiful daughter Simone was number 88.”

John Howard, who was Australia's prime minister at the time of the attacks, said those responsible for the horror of Bali had sought to divide Australians and Indonesians.

But they had failed, he said.

"Ten years ago, 20 million Australians in a sense extended their arms of comfort to those who had lost so much on that terrible night, and who were in other painful ways victims of a foul and evil act of mindless terrorism,” Mr Howard said.

“Today, a decade on, we renew that offer of comfort and compassion.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said there would always be a fault-line dividing the lives of those affected by the bombings: “Before Bali, and after Bali”.

"They had come to a place loved for its sunshine and its uncomplicated joy, a place like London and Gallipoli where something of the Australian spirit dwells upon another shore,” Ms Gillard said.

“This is what the Bali bombers struck at. Here on these bustling streets they inflicted searing pain and grief that may never end. But even as the debris fell, it was obvious the attack on our sense of ourselves, as Australians, as human beings, had failed.”

Ms Gillard was later to visit Sanglah Hospital where so many of the dead and injured were taken in the aftermath of the bombing.

The governor of Bali, Made Pastika, who led the police investigation into the bombings, urged those gathered at Jimbaran to embrace forgiveness.

“Those who died are also heroes,” he said.

“It is the time to forgive so we can face a brighter future.”

Floral tributes were laid, and the names of the 202 people killed were read aloud.

A minute's silence was then observed.

A separate service was also to be held on Friday night at the memorial in Kuta across the road from where the Sari Club once stood.

Despite reports in recent days of another threat, thousands were expected to turn out for the event in a defiant showing to honour those killed.

At 11.08pm at the memorial in Kuta, at the time when the bombs struck and tore apart so many people's lives, another minute's silence was to be observed.


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