Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has written a moving tribute to mark the one-year anniversary of the Manchester Arena terror attack.
The 20-year-old says the response of the victims and their families in the year since the atrocity has made him "proud to be Mancunian".
Twenty-two people were killed and hundreds injured when a suicide bomber detonated a device shortly after an Ariana Grande concert at the city-centre venue.
"What happened in Manchester on 22 May 2017 was unimaginable," Rashford wrote in a letter published by United's official website.
"I won't forget the moment I found out about the bombing at the arena. In that moment, I won't lie, it's so tough to process. The likelihood of you knowing someone who was directly involved in it is quite high, so it's a difficult moment.
"Personally, there was a massive, massive impact on me and I could see it affected the rest of the team as well. We were preparing for the Europa League final two days later, but even though we went to Stockholm, Manchester was at the front of our minds."
One year on, gone but not forgotten. My thoughts are with everyone who’s lives were lost or forever changed. Don’t let hate win. One love manchester pic.twitter.com/jetqK2gsWZ— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 22, 2018
Rashford and fellow academy graduate Jesse Lingard visited victims in hospital after the bombing, which he says is an experience he will never forget.
"What made us really think about it the most was when Jesse and I went to visit some of the younger victims in hospital," said the England international.
"That's when you can look them in the eye and see the scale of what has happened. I was both excited and a bit nervous to meet them all but, honestly, it was one of the most special occasions I can remember.
"We went to put smiles on faces where we could, but they ended up helping us and making us smile. I really can't put into words how brave those incredible kids are; how brave all the victims are. I can't find the words to do them justice.
"I couldn't imagine going through a moment or an experience like that at the age some of those kids were. Really, there's no age to go through something like what all of the victims went through.
"But they are all such strong people. To show that much strength, it's actually what this country needs. They were showing the most incredible spirit, having the courage and strength to overcome adversity like that. That's an amazing thing.
"My support still goes out to the victims and their families. Nobody will ever forget what happened but the way Manchester pulled together shows you everything you need to know about the people here. Seeing how everyone reacted made me so proud to be a Mancunian."
A memorial service is being held at Manchester Cathedral on Tuesday and a minute's silence held across the UK to honour the victims.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, captain Vincent Kompany and former player Mike Summerbee laid a wreath outside the arena.
Vincent Kompany, Pep Guardiola and Mike Summerbee visited the Manchester Arena before the parade to lay a wreath in memory of those who tragically lost their lives one year ago. pic.twitter.com/7U9FFZiFqX— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 22, 2018
19 de enero 2019
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