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CBN.com It has been two years since three subways and a double-decker bus were bombed by terrorists in London. But for sisters Emily and Katie Benton, the details remain as clear as the day it happened. It was the day that two small-town Tennessee girls looked into the face of evil, and countered it with bravery and love.
"It was one of those life-flash-before-your-eyes moments,” says Katie. “It is very hard to tell how long that feeling actually went on until it stopped. That heat wave, that electric current coming out of the bomb had passed over and was done. I thought that we had derailed and hit a power line and were being electrocuted. That is kind of what it felt like. Everything was black and, yeah, we felt like we were being electrocuted.”
"There was a huge crater in the floor,” continues Katie. “The bottom of the train was just rubble. All the windows were blown out, so there was shattered glass everywhere. Emily looked at me, and the first thing she said to me is, ‘Thank God we are alive.’”
Katie Benton flew into London on her way back from Kenya where she’d spent a month studying veterinary medicine. Her sister Emily joined her in London for a brief vacation.
However, their vacation ended abruptly when an explosion ripped through the subway they had just boarded.
“Maybe if we were further away from the bomb, a bomb would look like it does in Hollywood,” says Katie. “But when you are close to a bomb, there is no warning.”
Paramedics arrived 45 minutes later. For one woman seated near Katie, it was too late.
“There was a woman who was next to Katie,” says Emily. “People started getting into the car and trying to help. Katie leaned over to her, shook her and said, 'Are you OK?' She was dead.”
Emily and Katie had been seated 10 feet away from a suicide bomber.
"I don't really think I took that suggestion in my own mind seriously until I stopped somebody and asked what happened,” says Katie. “He looked at me and said, ‘How do you not know? This was a bomb.’ I was really overwhelmed with sorrow. I was just so really broken that Satan could deceive someone so much -- that he would think blowing up people was just OK. He thought that he was going to Heaven.”
The bombings claimed 50 lives that day, and the Benton sisters were among 700 wounded. They both suffered extensive shrapnel wounds. The deep wounds Katie suffered to her right leg and hand required 350 stitches and multiple skin grafts. She also lost 90 percent hearing in her right ear. Emily’s injuries were also severe; two shattered bones in her leg that required nine surgeries and extensive physical therapy to repair. But despite their horrific injuries, Katie and Emily captivated the media with their indomitable spirit and the forgiveness they extended to the suicide bomber. They credit their faith in God as sustaining them through their ordeal.
"Every time I needed to hear a specific verse, it was right there,” says Katie.
“You cannot just give up and quit living,” says Emily. “God gave us such a sense of encouragement. You just keep doing what you have to do. He was so present.”
The Bentons also had overwhelming support from their church family.
"We needed the prayer support. We needed the help, and people certainly took amazing care of us,” says Katie.
On the first year anniversary of the bombings, instead of remembering their losses, the sisters celebrated what they had gained. For Katie, it was a walk down the aisle with her new husband.
“We all said, 'This year we are putting it behind us. This is a new year,'” says Katie.
"That is what our family wants people to see through this,” says Emily, “how important faith is and that you really have a relationship with God and that you really pursue that. When something happens to you, you have God right there. He can turn something that is seemingly terrible into a God-glorifying amazing thing that is happening in your life.”
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