PARIS: A subdued France paid homage Friday to those killed two weeks ago in the attacks that gripped Paris in fear and mourning, honoring each of the 130 dead by name as the president pledged to “destroy the army of fanatics” who claimed so many young lives.
With each name and age read aloud inside the Invalides national monument, the toll gained new force. Most, as French President Francois Hollande noted, were younger than 35, killed while enjoying a Friday night of music, food, drinks or sports. The youngest was 17. The oldest, 68.
Meanwhile, in Belgium, authorities charged a man with “terrorist attacks” as investigators worked to home in on culprits. The federal prosecutor’s office said the man was arrested a day earlier in Brussels and was “charged with terrorist attacks and taking part in the activities of a terrorist group.” He was not identified and it was not immediately clear if he was one of two fugitives authorities have been seeking.
France’s somber homage to the victims bespoke the horrors of Nov. 13.
Throughout Paris, French flags fluttered in windows and on buses in uncharacteristic displays of patriotism in response to Paris’ second deadly terror attack this year. But the mood was grim, and the locked-down ceremony at the Invalides national monument lacked the defiance of January, when a million people poured through the streets to honor those killed by Islamic extremist gunmen.
Hollande, who in January locked arms with world leaders in a show of global unity against terrorism, sat alone in a chair in the cavernous Invalides courtyard, the assembled mourners behind him as victims’ names were recited. France’s military provided the only images of Friday’s ceremony, and no one without an invitation was permitted inside.
The night of Nov. 13, three teams of suicide bombers and gunmen struck across Paris, beginning at the national stadium and ending in the storming of the Bataclan concert venue. In all, 130 people died and hundreds were injured. The crowd at the stadium shakily sang France’s national anthem as they filed outside that night; a military band played the Marseillaise again on Friday.