Words are grossly inadequate when trying to address the horrific attacks on the amazing city of Paris. Friday nights will never be the same for Parisians who strolled the streets, stopped in cafes, watched a soccer match, took in a rock concert on a beautiful night in November. In a matter of minutes, their safe world was torn to pieces and would never be the same. Who would have thought they would come so close to death or even meet death doing what they often do on a glorious evening in the city of lights.
During more peaceful times, we had the pleasure of being among those city residents this past summer. We fell madly in love with the friendly, exciting, bustling metropolis. Never did we experience any uncomfortable feelings or unfriendly comments. Everyone was delightful even if we asked some tiring questions about directions.
There was so much to do and see that we never had a moment to pause. We were struck by the beauty, outside with the many monuments and inside at museums, cathedrals, and restaurants. We soaked it all in as we toured and walked the boulevards and hilly streets.
Even the huge crowds at the Eiffel Tower did not deter us from joining the throngs of humanity. Everyone was amazingly civil and patient as the groups ambled peacefully along the thoroughfare.
Actually we could not get enough. We came back at the end of our tour and spent the last day traipsing to places we had missed the first days of our visit.
It grieves me so to think how that all came to a standstill Nov. 13 and precious lives were lost while taking part in the most ordinary of events. I think of the tour guides we met who lived in the city and shared their expertise with us. They were so proud of the many places they showed us as they explained the importance of the sites. Hopefully, they are safe and will return to the important task of sharing their amazing city.
But Paris and all of France cannot be dismayed. They must and will rally after this most egregious act. Watching the events unfold on TV (I could not hold back the tears), I was reminded of the shock and horror of 9/11 terrorist attacks in this country.
It was a dark time in the U.S. and was filled with troubling emotions that were hard to contain. Most of us could not stop watching every second of the TV coverage for weeks and weeks, hurt and shocked at how anything this horrible could happen. And there are remnants of the attacks both physically and mentally after 14 years have passed.
But of course, we have come back with a fierceness and determination to conquer evil and not let it consume us. This country, founded by so many diverse groups, would not let this band of miscreants take us down as we rebuilt and restored what was destroyed. We still must be strong to preserve the life fought for by so many and valued by all of us.
France, be strong! The rest of the world feels your pain and suffering. Pope Francis recently called terrorist attacks, “a piecemeal World War III,” and I am afraid he may be correct. Never would I have ever predicted this state of events for my children and grandchildren. A young adult in the late 1960s and early ’70s, I was so hopeful that peace would prevail.
We must be vigilant to stop these affronts on our lifestyle and values by expressing our feelings and backing our leaders. We must flush out the enemy and remove them, making sure we don’t include everyone of a certain nationality or religion. We must never lose our faith and commitment to freedom and democracy. Life is too precious to take for granted.
Everyone, please join me in keeping our French friends uplifted and hopeful that a feeling of peace will soon return to the battered city. Vive la France!