In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night that resulted in the deaths of more than 120 people, the world has come together to mourn and offer prayers of love and support for the victims and their family and friends. New Yorkers (and Americans as a whole) understand the Paris tragedy in perhaps a more personal way than most, having lived through the Sept. 11 attacks over 14 years ago. New York City has also become a home for many French exchange students and expats, many of whom came together with the city's residents in a vigil for the Paris attacks held in Union Square on Friday night.
According to TIME , more than 70 people were said to have been in attendance, with the gathering remaining mostly silent until the group broke out in a chorus of French national anthem "La Marseillaise." (The anthem is also said to have been sung by sports fans during the evacuation of the Stade de France in Paris following the explosions just outside of it on Friday night.)
The French are an incredibly resilient culture, but healing from this unimaginable horror will take time — in the meantime, these gestures from others are small tokens of solidarity and comfort in the midst of the devastation. In the hours following the attacks, French officials have reportedly urged Parisians to stay home, and many cultural sites have been closed until further notice, including the Eiffel Tower.
With investigations ongoing, there's still much to be determined about those responsible for the attacks in Paris, as well as the victims whose lives were lost. It's an unspeakable tragedy and one that has devastated the international community. However, the support offered to those affected by the attacks can be a small comfort, and it's our responsibility to ensure that we show as much compassion and solidarity as we can.
It's heartening to see people coming together as they did in the above videos in such heartfelt ways. Sometimes there is no other way to get through tragedies like these except to hold onto one another and take it one step at a time.