When Rebecca and I were planning our honeymoon, I photoshopped an image of her standing on Westminster Bridge in London to go on our wedding webpage.
On our first full day in London, two years ago last week, I took a picture of her standing in the very spot she was in that photoshop image.
We were discussing the other day a question about our favorite memories of our marriage, and I said mine very well may be that moment — we’d just gotten married, we were on our honeymoon, and we were on the other side of the world doing a thing we’d only dreamed of. It was surreal and inspiring. That moment redefined my sense of the possible.
That moment was dear to me. That spot is dear to me. London is dear to me.
It grieves me to see that city, that spot, come under attack.
But on my last trip to London, I made an odd sort of pilgrimage. I work at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. A bust of Wernher von Braun stands within sight of my cubicle. Here, he’s the man who made the moon landings possible. London had a very different experience with Wernher von Braun, and I believed I owed it to myself to acknowledge that. I found and visited a block in London where people had died because of von Braun.
The Germans, with the V2s and the Blitzkrieg, believed they could terrify London into submission. They were grievously wrong.
During that time, King George VI said, “It is not the walls that make the city, but the people who live within them. The walls of London may be battered, but the spirit of the Londoner stands resolute and undismayed.”
It is a fool who believes he has the wherewithal to cause London to cower. Whatever it is a person might believe he is capable of, London has withstood worse.
I love London. I will return there.
We stand with London.