June 14 (UPI) — Britain observed a national moment of silence Thursday for 72 people who died in the Grenfell Tower fire a year ago, on the same day new blazes hit a pair of London high-rises.
The 24-story tower and other London buildings were lit green to mark the occasion — a color chosen by surviving residents. The now-charred skyscraper was recently covered in a white sheet with a heart featured on all four sides.
Other events planned Thursday to honor victims of the blaze include a memorial church service, a 24-hour vigil and the unveiling of an Islamic-style mosaic made by the Al-Manaar local Muslim community center that will be installed at the bottom of the building.
“Today we remember those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower and pay tribute to their family, friends and loved ones for the strength and dignity they have shown,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a tweet.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan also tweeted acknowledging the lives lost in the blaze.
“Today we remember the 72 lives so tragically lost in the Grenfell Tower fire a year ago — innocent victims young & old, children, parents, grandparents, friends & loved ones as well as all those injured and affected,” Khan tweeted. “Our thoughts & prayers remain with the Grenfell community.”
Natasha Elcock, one of the last residents rescued a year ago, told BBC News she’s proud of the community response.
“We could have been the most angry community out there because of what happened, but we’ve chosen to be dignified, be calm,” she said. “Ultimately, that’s earned us respect.”
“We really want to ensure that we change so much that Grenfell is not remembered because it killed 72 people, but because it has a legacy of change.”
Incidentally Thursday, two separate fires erupted in a pair of high-rise London apartment buildings.
Dozens of firefighters were called to a fire on the 12th floor of a tower in Lewisham and another in Gorbals. Both fires were contained and there were no injuries.
“Given that a year today was Grenfell, the first thing I thought was to just get out,” Lewisham resident Nick Cheuk said. “That was in the back of everyone’s mind.”
Britain’s national soccer team observed a moment of silence in Russia for the 2018 World Cup, which started Thursday.