Friday the thirteenth has one of the most negative connotations I can think of. On this past Friday the thirteenth, a terrorist attack doomed Paris, France and took countless lives of innocent people.
That afternoon, I was hanging out at home. I had a great day and was looking forward to winding down and having a great night. When a friend texted me about the attack, I turned on the television and my jaw dropped in horror.
A dark night sky hovered eerily over a city flashing red and blue with emergency vehicles. Sirens and screams were the soundtrack to a Paris evening, and city streets were overwhelmed with citizens frantically running with no direction, fearing for their lives.
Hour by hour local news stations began live-reporting on the terror that was Friday the thirteenth on a European evening. Eventually, President Barack Obama came on to address the situation. As we are allies with France, Obama called the attacks an “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians,” according to CNN.
While America put itself back together after 9/11, France was there with friendly support. However, Paris was not the only city brutally affected by terrorism last week. Beirut witnessed its own tragedy by a bombing just a day before.
Another CNN article said a pair of suicide bombings killed 43 people and wounded 239 others. The article said ISIS took responsibility for the Beirut bombings and investigations are underway after a suspect said he was with the extremist group.
Arguably, Beirut is not getting the media attention France is. Why that is, I am not sure. However, a New York Times article quoted a doctor from Beirut saying, “When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of its flag.”
I do believe we need to give each tragedy the same amount of recognition. However, it is not a contest. What happened in Lebanon and France are on the same level as our 9/11. What is admirable is that these countries, while mourning, are standing on their feet. They are fighting and will not back down.
French President François Hollande said the country would “eradicate the Islamic State,” according to another New York Times article. The Australian reported that Hollande had declared war on ISIS and told French citizens to be courageous.
While some states in the U.S. have said they would not allow Syrian refugees, Obama said he would not “shut the door” to Syrians, according to The Atlantic.
While these scars on our world are deep and sore, I find it beautiful that we can set our pride and own agenda aside and take time to recognize each other as fellow nations.
I was watching the Denver Broncos vs. the Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday, and in the midst of fans yelling at each other in typical, sports-jousting fashion, they took time for a moment of silence in recognition of Paris, and what a silence it was.
For 60 seconds, a stadium filled with hundreds of people fell honorably silent in memory of horrific deaths and in respect of one of our strongest allies. I cried yet again, hearing only my heartbeat.
What an amazing thing – that we can be so passionate and sometimes even hostile when it comes to our sports teams and what-have-you, yet it is all trivial. We understand that there are bigger things to worry about, to pay attention to.
A day of football is a day of relaxation. The day of soccer on Friday the thirteenth was an escape from the work week and a literal kickoff to the weekend. Parents stayed home while their kids went to the Eagles of Death Metal concert. Their phones sat a few feet away from them as they made dinner, intending to leave leftovers in the fridge for when their children came home.
Soccer fans had plans to go bar hopping after the game, plans to celebrate a win, whoever’s it may be. That did not happen.
I have seen too many videos of people being shot dead in the streets for no reason. I saw a video of a pregnant woman screaming for help as a gunman was making his way through the building, searching for undeserving victims.
Throughout all of this madness, I am happy to see our country and many others take some time to make a huge, yet subtle symbol of unity. Our world can be a miserable place, but it does not have to be. Obama said he defends Hollande’s strategy, according to The Atlantic.
There is a beauty in how we can act as one, regardless of oceans, language barriers and governments. Policies mean nothing and people take precedence when it comes to dire straits.
You stand by your allies when they are on the ground. You help out your friends when they are down on their luck. With civility and camaraderie, France will soon see the brighter days they deserve so badly.
It is this worldwide kindness that people like ISIS can never penetrate. It is this mentality that is executable, and makes the world maybe not so bad of a place.