On November 13, 2015, 130 people were killed in a series of terrorist attacks throughout Paris, the deadliest terrorist attack in recent French history. In fact, the biggest massacre on French soil since World War II.
Three years later, with the scars of these events still visible, members of the French government gathered at each of the six attack zones to pay respect to those wounded and killed on that day. Bars, cafes, a sports arena, and, worst of all, the music venue Bataclan were all sites of horrific shootings and bombings that day. Large numbers of survivors are still said to be suffering from PTSD, and it seems that the majority of Parisians knows someone who was either at the location of an attack, or worse, didn’t make it out of the crowded music hall. Nearly silent crowds of people gathered throughout the city to release balloons into the sky out of respect for the dead.
Today, the city of Paris has a different feel than it did before. Outside the Notre Dame, gendarmes with machine guns stand at attendance. In La Défense, soldiers search bags before allowing you entry. But if France has shown us anything, it is that fear will not change the French way of life.