Why We’re Standing with Paris

Photos and reflections from Sunday's vigil on the Common.

Hundreds of people gathered on Boston Common on Sunday afternoon to stand in solidarity with the victims of this weekend’s terrorist attacks in France, which have now claimed more than 130 lives. From French students studying abroad to Boston Marathon bombing survivors, individuals shared with us brief reflections on why they’re standing with France.


Photo by Olga Khvan

Carlos Arredondo

It’s important as a member of the community to come out here and honor the people of France, and to support all of them in any way I can. Myself, I’m a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing, and I experienced that traumatic event. It’s very, very traumatic to be in that situation. I can only imagine what the people in France are going through right now. I want to send a message that I hope the grieving and the healing process continues with the support of everyone around the world. People are thinking of them and grieving along the way. My heart goes out to all the citizens of France.


Photo by Olga Khvan

Benoit Boudier

I’m Parisian. I’ve lived in Paris all my life, so I obviously feel very connected to what’s happening in Paris. It is important to show that we are not afraid, that we are together, that we are standing against these barbaric criminals. That’s why we are here. I know the city is in shock, but I know people are standing strong. And that’s the message here, and that’s the message there.


Photo by Olga Khvan

Sophie Tavares

I came here because I am French and I want to support the French. I feel very sad about the attacks, and I need to come out here and show my support. It’s going to be hard, and I hope there will not be any more attacks, and that the people will feel safe again.


Photo by Olga Khvan

Sylvia Appleton

I want to be with people who are as sad as I am about this. It’s really a horrible thing that has happened, and it leaves you with a feeling that it’s a growing problem that can only get worse. And what can you do? It helps to be with all these people, even though I don’t speak French. We care so much. They’ve always been our allies—our first allies and allies still. We stand with them—it’s a strong feeling.


Photo by Olga Khvan

Emile Chevrin, Martin Tamisier, Miran Tikvicki, Lucas Deleplanque, Clement Duchene, Noé Zagroun, Béranger Magni

Emile: We are all from France here, so we are here because it matters. We feel lost with the whole distance thing from our country, our homeland. We are all studying abroad, and it feels like a necessity to be here and to participate in this movement and unite. It’s a sad moment.

Martin: It is not only a problem in France, it’s a problem for the world. We have to care about it, and we have to show we are united against what happened.

Béranger: We are very glad to see all the support from the American people. We are blessed to see that—it’s amazing. They know exactly what it is like from 2001, and we are very happy to see the support from everywhere.


Photo by Olga Khvan

Patrick Calhoun Hickox

J’aime beaucoup la France et j’aime Paris et les Parisiens. I love the French, and I love France. I go there frequently, so today I feel like I am in Paris, and that’s why I’m here. I’ve brought the tricolore to commune with others who are experiencing this sorrow, which ideally, I hope, will not make us fearful. I’m an architect and I think in terms of solutions. I don’t know what the solution is, but that’s what we have to be thinking about. I’m not sure vengeance is going to work. I think we may face this kind of danger for decades to come, so we have to have the emotional resources to withstand these acts of horror. And they very likely will come here, and possibly much worse than what we’ve seen. The scale of this, as horrible as it is that it’s 130 people, it could be hundreds of thousands of people. Fear is not the solution. The solution is to try to create modes of action that could succeed to somehow combat these works of—I don’t want to even say evil—but these works of madness.


Photo by Olga Khvan

Catherine Blavet

We are here to support our friends and our family. We are very sad and we try to stick together. We are far away, but we are together with them. We know it is difficult in France at the present time—the crisis and all the bombings. It is difficult what France has been through. And although we are away, we are French and we want to stick with them.


Photo by Olga Khvan

Annie Le Guern

I am here to show solidarity with people who lost family members, and to show my support with my family who is still in France. I know some people who have family members, a niece and a friend of mine, who were wounded where they had the music show. There are a lot of questions. At some point we are presenting liberté, égalité, fraternité, but now I know there is a lot of concern about the integration of immigrants and the risks people are facing.


Erick and Gibson Carpenter

Erick: We are here to show support and show sympathy. We understand. We’ve gone through loss, and we’ve both experienced the same. Love conquers all, even in events of such incredible violence that seem nonsensical. It’s important to get together and know that we are not alone. These are the events that define us after the terror. We know it hurts. It’s never going to stop hurting. But tomorrow it will hurt a little less. We are with you.