‘It brings everything back’ Memories: Lyn McKeon and daughter Marissa before their deaths in Bali in October, 2002.
Survivors: Ross McKeon and daughter Kristie survived the 2002 Bali bombing, but their lives changed forever.
Grief: Ross McKeon and daughter Kristie at the funeral of Lyn and Marissa McKeon.
Injured: Ross McKeon in hospital after the 2002 Bali bombing.
TweetFacebook Memories of 2002IT’S been 15 years since Terrie Smith’s sister and niece, Lyn and Marissa McKeon, were killed in a bomb attack on the Sari Club in Bali, but the memories of 2002 came flooding back on Saturday with a simple news report.
American prosecutors had filed terror charges against the alleged architect of the 2002 bombings, Riduan “Hambali” Isomuddin, which killed 202 people including 88 Australians, the report said.
Mrs Smith and husband Warren were stunned by what they called “the good news”. But they were reminded again of what they lost when a cancelled flight back to Australia saw Ross and Lyn McKeon, their daughters Marissa, 14, and Kristie, 12, and 13 friends have dinner at the Sari Club –the only time the group went to anightclub during their three-week holiday.
“Hearing it like that without any warning, it brings everything back, but it’s not as raw as it was five yearsago, and five years ago it wasn’t as raw as it was five years before that,” Mr Smith said.
“We’re past the crying stage but it sort of all hits home.”
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop described the 2002 Bali bombing as the single greatest loss of Australian life in a terrorist attack, which had been a “scar on the hearts of all Australians”.
“I hope that, should this prosecution succeed, there will be some closure for those who were devastated by the loss of loved ones, family and friends,” Ms Bishop said.
Isomuddin is accused of directing the co-ordinated attacks on Paddy’s Irish Pub, the Sari Club and the US consulate in October, 2002, as well as the 2003 bombing of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta which killed 12 people.
Terrie and Warren Smith said they would follow the prosecution but the incarceration of Isomuddin at Guantanamo Bay since 2006 was “the best thing because he hasn’t been able to hurt anyone else”.
“Other people have been protected from this coward,” Mr Smith said.
Ross McKeon suffered serious injuries during the bombing while daughter Kristie was found by friends, distraught and alone, after the attack.
Mr McKeon still bears the physical and emotional scars and the simple act of looking at photographs at family events showed the extent of the grief felt by him and his daughter, Mr Smith said.
“He doesn’t saytoo much,” he said.
In an interview one year after the bombing Mr McKeon said the grief “comes up when you don’t expect it”.
“We might be at a sporting event or something like thatandI’ll think, 12 months ago Marissa was running around, Lyn was hereandwe were watching this together as a familyandenjoying life together. Andnow they’re not here.”
Mr Smith said Kristie’s marriage and the recent birth of her first child were times when she keenly felt the loss of both her mother and sister.
“Marissa is badly missed by her sister. Things have happened in Kristie’s life and it would have been nice for her to have her mother and sister there.”
Terrie Smith said July 7 will be another reminder of the permanent losses from October 12, 2002, when Lyn McKeon would have celebrated her 60thbirthday.
In 2003 Ross McKeon said he had constant memories of his wife and daughter.
“They are sweet memories but you have to let them be sweet rather than hold on to them, because then they go sour because you start thinking about what you’ve lost. You have to let it pass and not dwell on it.”
In November, 2008 three men were executed on the island prison ofNusakambanganin for their parts in the 2002 Bali bombing, and a fourth man died in a police shoot-out in 2010. Other conspirators were sentenced to lengthy jail sentences.
In October, 2005 another bomb blast in Bali claimed the lives of Newcastle residents Colin and Fiona Zwolinski and Jennifer Williamson, and left members of nine other Newcastle families with serious injuries.