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Petals fall to recollect tsunami victims

THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND petals dropped from the roof of St Paul ’s Cathedral on Wednesday afternoon during an act of remembrance for the victims of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean .


For half a minute their rustling filled the cathedral and moved many in the congregation to tears. Many had lost family members in the tidal waves that struck Indonesia , Thailand, Sri Lanka , and other countries in the region on 26 December.


The death toll stands at 273,000, but the numbers missing mean that the exact figure will never be known.


The service was attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Lord Attenborough, whose daughter and granddaughter were swept away by the tidal wave, read from Revelation chapter 21: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”


In his sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute to those among the bereaved who had set up trusts and projects to help in the reconstruction of the region. And he spoke of the “endlessly patient people of these poor and struggling communities” who were attempting to rebuild their lives.


He went on: “The human response to pain and tragedy is as ‘unreasonable’ as so much of the tragedy itself. It is generous and creative, self-forgetful, capable of doing what sometimes seem very small or ineffectual things simply because they are worth doing for the sake of honouring other human beings. . .


“Despite all the ways in which we train ourselves out of it by selfishness and busyness, love is essentially the most natural thing for us.”


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