Ten years ago, the bombing of two nightclubs in Bali resulted in 202 deaths and unsettled the long-peaceful island popular with Western tourists. On Friday, hundreds of survivors and their families gathered in Bali to remember the bombing, a devastating attack that mobilized Indonesia against terrorism.
Grieving families laid wreaths, scattered flower petals and cupped candles in prayer before a memorial monument. Thousands of police and military personnel guarded the gathering, watchful for a new attack. At one of Bali's famed beaches, surfers took to their boards for a “Paddle for Peace.”
Bombing victims included people from more than two dozen countries, including Australians, Indonesians, Britons, Americans and Swedes. The attack shook governments allied with the West; U.S. officials feared the bombing was part of a new global spasm of terrorist attacks.
As the 10th anniversary neared this week, Indonesian police said they had detected a new terror threat, but the news didn’t seem to deter the crowds bearing candles and flowers Friday. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard insisted she wanted to be in Bali on the fateful date, remembering “the worst terrorist attack our nation has ever known.”
“Perhaps there is a grim reassurance in knowing that the terrorists did not achieve what they set out to do,” Gillard said in a speech at the memorial service. “They did not undermine Indonesian democracy, which has only grown stronger across the passage of a decade. And though our vigilance is greater, we have not surrendered the freedoms that brought us here in the first place.”