'London, Stay Strong'

Thursday's bombings in London may not have claimed any more lives, but they certainly rattled the already frayed nerves of a European city.

Thousands of miles away, in a North Carolina Hospital, Katie and Emily Benton felt their pain.

The two sisters from Tennessee were among the more than 700 people who were injured in the first bombings in London July 7. Friday, they spoke with The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler.


"It's just sad that even with all the precautions that they have been taking since this happened two weeks ago, that bombers are still able to get on the trains and do the same things that they were doing before," Emily said.

Katie added, "I'm really grateful, so grateful, that they were so contained and that, last I heard, there was one person injured, and that wasn't even from the bomb. I'm so grateful for that."

Two weeks ago, the Benton sisters were right in the middle of the terror. It was only the second day of their trip to England, and they were on their way to visit the Tower of London, when a bomb ripped through their Underground train car.

Emily Benton recalled the panic: "When we were able to open our eyes, there was, like, soot in the air, particles flying everywhere, and everything was burned, and the windows were broken. They'd blown in so there was glass everywhere."

Shortly after things calmed down, Katie said, she realized it was a bomb. "I was sitting up and kind of looking around, just from the state of the car, I kind of thought that there might have been a bomb, honestly."

More than 50 people were killed that day in four bomb attacks. Emily and Katie Benton know that they were lucky to have survived.

"The Lord's hand was totally surrounding us," Katie said. "We were so protected in all that, I mean, honestly, I mean our injuries are so minor compared to where we were located and just the devastation around us." Several of the people sitting near them in the car were killed.

Through it all, the sisters took comfort knowing they had each other.

Emily said, "We knew that when everything settled, we were right next to each other, and we knew the whole time that the other one was fine, and OK, so that was just a relief,"

Twenty-one year-old Katie, the elder by a year, added, "You know taking care of her, getting a water bottle and helping Emily and making sure she was OK really took my mind off of it for about 15 minutes before I realized I had some pretty serious injuries. Any big sister would have done it."

The young women said they harbored no grudges and claimed it's their faith that gives them the power to forgive.

Why is it important to forgive?

"Hatred and bitterness does nothing to hurt somebody else," Katie said. "It doesn't matter if I hate those men, those men are dead and they'll never know that I hate them. The only thing it will ever do is tear me down inside and just destroy my heart. I'm not foolish enough to say that I love those men, but I certainly don't hate them. I feel sorry for them more than anything. I pity them. I pity their families."

The Benton sisters are undaunted and they vowed to return someday to London to finish their trip. Until they can, they hope that Londoners will remain strong.

Katie said, "There was a picture in the newspaper of a Union Jack that said: 'We are not afraid.' I just hope that they cling to that and I just hope London continues to live with the spirit that we are not afraid, because that is how you overcome terrorism."

The sisters could be released from the hospital as soon as late today.
  • Tatiana Morales

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