If whoever bombed London last Thursday thought they were spreading fear, demoralization and panic, they cannot have realized that they were only giving a new generation of Londoners the chance to demonstrate the spirit of the Blitz. And on Sunday, in a day of commemorations for the 60th anniversary of the end of the World War II, they came out in force to show it.
The older generation was there in large numbers too, medals gleaming, shoes shining, suits and frocks neatly pressed, determined that they would not miss one last get-together.
They queued patiently and with good humor to go through the security cordons, the bag searches and the x-ray machines to get into Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.
The terrorist threat looming like a black cloud in a brilliant summer sky only reinforced their sense of solidarity.
Nevertheless, it hovered over the day. Speeches and sermons were rewritten to mention it.
Queen Elizabeth and her consort the Duke of Edinburgh paused at the memorial to the innocent victims of oppression outside the west front of the abbey to lay a bouquet of flowers with the aid of two young children, while the abbey's dean, Wesley Carr, intoned: "We had intended to celebrate the end of the war 60 years ago. We shall do that: victory in Europe in May, victory in Japan in August. But we cannot look back or predict the future without today recognizing the tragedy of terrorism in the present.
"The Second World War saw air power shift the idea of the front from trenches, barbed wire and battlefields to anywhere a bomb could be dropped or a rocket explode. That power now seems to belong to terrorists who wage war secretly, wherever they choose. As then, so now, there remains this home front on which all, civilian and military alike, stood and still stand firm against a perceived evil," Carr said.
As the congregation streamed out, the bells overhead were fired -- struck simultaneously -- in bursts of explosive sound, a technique used only on occasions of great celebration, as 60 years ago on VE and VJ days.
In the afternoon, by now joined by the Prince of Wales and his wife, the royal party came back up the Mall to a show for the veterans on Horse Guards' Parade.
"We cannot claim the world has been freed from war or terror but in Europe we have been faithful ... I am sure this commemoration will encourage all those who have lived through the years since to reflect on the debt we owe to the wartime generation," Queen Elizabeth said.
She also spoke of their resilience, humor and sustained courage and offered them the nation's thanks and respect.