At 5 p.m. on Monday evening the mood was solemn as students gathered outside of Smith Memorial Student Union in attendance of a vigil hosted by the Portland State French Club in the wake of the Paris attacks.
“We needed to do something to show our support and admiration for the French, French culture and French language,” said Amandeep Sohi, co-president of the French Club.
Midday on Monday, all across France, a moment of silence took place within schools and cafes, and on the streets.
On the other side of the world, the symbol of the Eiffel Tower within a peace sign was held as PSU students walked around the Park Blocks with lit candles. They too took a moment of silence for the 129 dead, 352 injured, 99 in critical condition and those around the world in mourning.
“We are taking a stance in solidarity to show that we too are with Paris and the people [affected by] the attacks,” Sohi said.
PSU currently has four Education Abroad students in France. One of those four was in Paris during the attacks, according to Education Abroad adviser Hannah Fischer. Fischer specializes in students studying in Europe.
“We are very grateful for the hard work done by our overseas partners in securing our students in such a traumatic time,” Fischer stated in an email.
“I’m hoping that they are safe and they’re alright, and they themselves are not reeling from this tragedy,” Sohi said when asked about the PSU students studying abroad in France.
After the attacks, the feeling of shock spread across campus.
“For all of us, at first, it was not that believable, kind of shocking,” said Molly Reese, co-president of the French Club.
“[At first] there were only about 30 people dead, then it kept going up, making it more and more unbelievable,” said Andy Barnaud, co-president of the French Club. “We’re all the same kind of civilization, same kind of culture, and I feel like we owe a lot to the French culture. [The vigil was important] as a remembrance of what happened.”
The attack cost the lives of many, yet brought people from across the world together. It’s important to keep in mind there are always those around us who are feeling the same things we are—sadness, fear or hope; we are never alone.