It’s been a year since terror reigned on Sydney’s streets after an unhinged gunman took hostages at the Lindt Café at Martin Place, sending the city into lockdown.
It’s been 52 weeks since Katrina Dawson said goodbye to her husband and three children, unknowingly for the last time.
It’s been 365 days since Tori Johnson went missing from the lives of his parents, siblings and partner of 14 years.
Tonight, crowds have gathered at the scene of the crime to honour the victims with a twilight service.
In an emotional interview on The Project before the memorial, Tori’s sister Camille Piazza remembered her “incredibly gentle, generous, kind” brother, who was a manager at the Lindt Café.
“He always put everyone before himself,” she said.
“He was just my big brother and everything that came out from the siege and what he did for other people that was just innately Tori. That’s just him.”
Camille said she was living in Paris when she received the horrible news about Tori and couldn’t bring herself to visit the scene of his death until Sunday night.
“I found myself out at the front of that café… and I felt very heavy. I didn’t understand why I was there until I went inside,” she said.
“There were three of the people that were there with Tori that night and I just thought I was meant to come and I had to meet them and I embraced them, and they embraced me.”
See the full interview here:
The tearful Camille said she drew support from the massive floral tribute left at Martin Place last year for her brother, who “adored flowers”.
“To have that sea of flowers in tribute to him and Katrina, I just imagine him kind of swimming through gently right into the middle.”
“(It was) very overwhelming, but so beautiful and just the city smelt of flowers for a long time.”
Siege survivors, family members of those who died, politicians, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, New South Wales Premier Mike Baird and hundreds of spectators, some draped in Australian flags are gathered at the site amidst a heavy security presence.
The service will include a school choir singing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, readings and poems, a minute’s silence and projections on the façade of Martin Place, which will continue for five days.
This is how the victims and 15 other hostages were remembered:
— Mazoe Ford (@MazoeFord) December 15, 2015
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) December 15, 2015
A single white rose has been left at the entrance to the Lindt Cafe on the first anniversary of the Sydney siege. pic.twitter.com/rlFtRUt4tr
— Chris Urquhart (@chrisurquhart) December 14, 2015
Prime Minister Turnbull said the reaction from the public showed that “love was greater than hate.”
NSW Premier Mike Baird said that after the horrific incident, something remarkable happened.
“As a city, we were drawn to Martin Place,” he said.
“We came in shock and in sorrow, but every step we took was with purpose. One woman, unknown, had laid some flowers. Suddenly we knew that words were not enough and so we also carried flowers.
“That trickle of petals soon transformed to a sea of colour. And it was clear to the world that Sydney stands together.”
Baird announced on Sunday that a permanent memorial of floral cubes, inspired by last year’s beautiful tribute, will be laid into the pavement.
“In the day, it will reflect the sun and through the night it will shine as a reminder that light will always defeat darkness,” he said.
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