Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson, victims of the Lindt Cafe siege two years ago. Photo: Supplied Ken Johnson, the father of Tori, remembers his son with sunflowers. Photo: Paul Miller
Premier Mike Baird greets Jane Dawson, the mother of Katrina. Photo: Paul Miller
The families and friends of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson, as well as other hostages and assembled dignitaries, laid flowers and candles across a communion table in central Sydney on Thursday to mark the two year anniversary of the Lindt café siege.
During a lunch-time service at the St Stephen’s Uniting Church on Macquarie Street, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, read from the Book of Matthew: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
The Premier, Mike Baird, read from Lamentations.
And Rev Doctor Stephen Robinson, a chaplain for the National Disaster Recovery office who was present at Martin Place after the siege, spoke about the mixed emotions of the season.
“The coming of Christmas is supposed to be a time of happiness and joy and celebration,” said Rev Dr Robinson. “Yet for so many people it is a time of loss and grief.”
“And from the very first Christmas this was always true,” he said.
The service marked two years since the morning of December 15, 2014, when Man Haron Monis took a crowd of café workers and visitors at the Lindt Café on Martin Place hostage.
Before the siege was finished, about 16 hours later, the café’s manager Tori Johnson was shot by Monis. Barrister Katrina Dawson was killed by a ricocheting police bullet in the raid that ended the siege, and Monis was also shot by police.
In the days that followed, Martin Place was blanketed by flowers left by well-wishers and mourners.
The Reverend Ken Day, Minister at St Stephen’s Uniting Church, recalled those scenes on Thursday when he invited the family and friends of the victims, and others in attendance, to lay out flowers and candles at the front of the church as symbols of hope and light.
The memorial service was attended by Mr Turnbull and Lucy Turnbull, the chief commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, as well as Mr Baird, Justice Minister Troy Grant, the federal shadow attorney-general, Mark Dreyfus, Labor’s upper house leader Adam Searle, and Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.
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