THE images are seared on our retina. When we close our eyes we see them over and over again. We will never forget.

We feel the sun on our backs that August Saturday.

Remember how we always sigh as we’re caught again at the traffic lights. Glance up at the magnificent imposing college.

Remind ourselves again that it turned down the chance to play Hogwarts in the film.

We rarely think about the airfield just behind the thin border of trees.

We’re going to work or on a day out. All is routine.

But now we see something else, unimaginable six days ago.

A jet fighter ladened with fuel screeching from the blue sky.

We see the picture of the plane, surely far too low over the rooftops, heading towards a group of brightly dressed people looking to cross the road and join in the airshow fun.

We see the Hawker Hunter’s nose poking through the foliage.

From so many different angles, the footbridge miles away or just on the other side of the road, we see the fireball. We hope for the best but don’t get it.

It’s not wrong for us to stare at these pictures despite what some might say.

Everyone is a photographer these days and the quality of the cameras is high.

Ten years ago the tragedy would have been told in aftermath pictures and words.

Now it is second-by-second freeze frame.

That is the world in which we now live.

From the moment we are born to the moment we die, we are part of an unfolding narrative available to everyone.

But it is not to be prurient to look at these images it is to be shocked by a reality, appalled, wanting to bear witness, to take on a share of the burden of the tragedy.

These pictures and the stories in newspapers and online are the first draft of a terrible new chapter in local history.

When the little girl ran naked from the napalmed Vietnamese village of My Lai during that war she ran straight into the front pages, into global discourse and played her part in ending the conflict.

It was shocking but it happened.

Life is tragedy and triumph. We rarely get to choose.

The families and relatives grieve for lives snuffed out. The cliché of our thoughts being with them is true.

For a while people here do not want to look like they’re enjoying their own lives. The pubs and restaurants are a little emptier this week. It feels wrong to be getting on with it.

But as it must, that will pass. Another cliché is life goes on.

Consider a man who we now all think we know. Many in Brighton actually did.

Chauffeur driver Maurice Abrahams had a simple philosophy on life.

Live it to the full and don’t let anyone stop you, he told one nervous bride-to-be as he helped her into his limo.

Maurice did just that and we should follow his example.

And it’s not just Maurice, it is all of those victims.

Driving to football matches, sightseeing on a sunny day.

We know them all now.

We know what good people they were.

How many people’s lives they affected.

Their hopes and dreams and plans for the future.

One awful event, the images of which we will never be able to erase from the continual loop in our minds, ended that future.

But we here will never forget them.

They are part of us now.