Second quake anniversary service in Christchurch [photos]

Marrianne Jackson was one of thousands who attended the second earthquake anniversary memorial service in Christchurch today.

She was the receptionist on the ground floor of the CTV building.

When the building began to crack and groan as the midday February 22, 2011, earthquake struck she forgot the conventional wisdom about staying put under her desk and fled out the door.

She says she sensed the building was breaking up and ran out onto Madras St.

Looking over her shoulder she saw the building collapse.

“It felt like the building was chasing me as I ran,” she later told the Royal Commission into the earthquakes.

She stopped running when she reached the other side of the street and when she turned around the building was completely down.

Ms Jackson was the only person from CTV from inside the building who survived.

The other 115 people died out of the total of 185 earthquake casualties.

Today, the atmosphere was less dramatic as she reflected with friends and remembered those who were gone.

Thousands gathered in Latimer Square today.

The nearby CTV site is now cleared and festooned with floral tributes from friends and families of victims and survivors.

On the day of the earthquake, thousands of people had gathered in Latimer Square to get away from buildings still being shaken by frequent violent aftershocks.

The square became the site of a temporary morgue.

The memories came flooding back for many as religious and political leaders led the service today.

Other groups held small services overlooking the Avon River on an overcast and slightly cooler day, similar to the day of the big quake.

Prime Minister John Key took the opportunity to speak about progress of the rebuild, while acknowledging the impatience of residents waiting for house repairs and rebuilding the devastated central business district.

“I know this is a difficult day for you. Your grief is still raw and only time can help to numb the pain of your loss. This city and this country continue to feel for you.

"Today is also about remembering those who were badly injured in the earthquakes. And it’s about paying tribute to the strength and resolve of Cantabrians.

“People have lost their homes and businesses. People have faced massive disruption, uncertainty and anxiety.

“And people have endured more than 11,000 earthquakes and aftershocks since September 2010. In the face of that, you have shown great heart and resilience. You have prevailed,” Mr Key said.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee attended but left immediately after the service. As did Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority head Roger Sutton, who was heading for yet another public meeting in the eastern suburbs to talk about aspects of the recovery.

Labour’s Prime Minister-in-waiting, David Shearer, was also present with fellow MPs Clayton Cosgrove, Ruth Dyson and Megan Woods. They comforted many of the people who came up and spoke to them afterwards.

c.hutch@clear.net.nz

Laying wreaths in Latimer Square at midday today

The site of the CTV building where 115 of the 185 earthquake victims died on February 22, 2011. A memorial service was held at midday today 

People pay tribute today to those who died on February 22, 2011

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee at Latimer Square, Christchurch, today at midday

Labour MPs turned out for today's memorial service. From left: Megan Woods, Clayton Cosgrove, David Shearer and Ruth Dyson at the site of the CTV building which collapsed killing 115 people on February 22, 2011

A Japanese delegation talks to foreign news media at today's service. Many of the 115 casualties in the collapsed CTV building were foreign students

A fire-fighting team attending today's memorial service

Christchurch city councillors (from left) Jamie Gough of the Rich List Gough Gough & Hamer family, maverick Yani Yohanson, soon-to-retire Barry Corbett and possible mayoral contender Glenn Livingstone

Small groups held their own services along the Avon River

A group holds a memorial service near the Avon River 

The CTV building where 115 people were killed on February 22, 2011 

A wrecked street in central Christchurch on February 22, 2011

Tragic scene on February 22, 2011. People were killed by masonry falling on the streets and on cars and buses

These buildings that were severely damaged on February 22, 2011, have now all gone

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