Lanterns, candles and calls for peace illuminated the City of Light on Sunday as Paris mourned 130 people killed one year ago in attacks throughout the city.
November 13, 2015, was like any other day for Georges Salines: Work, a lunchtime swim with his daughter Lola, watching the news on TV, and an early night. He had no idea, until the phone rang, jolting him from his sleep, that his world was about to change forever.
“I went to bed … without knowing what was going on in the streets of Paris,” he recalls. “I was woken up by a phone call in the middle of the night, from my eldest son, who knew that his sister was at the Bataclan.”
Salines’ 29-year-old daughter, Lola, had gone to a concert at the Bataclan by US rock band the Eagles of Death Metal. Midway through the show, ISIS-linked gunmen opened fire on the audience and detonated suicide vests; 90 people were killed in the raid, one of a series of coordinated attacks across Paris.
Unable to reach her, the family spent hours trying to find out what had happened to Lola, calling emergency help lines and hospitals, even the morgue, but nobody could tell them if she was alive. Then the worst news, delivered in the worst way: They discovered via social media that she had been killed.
“I hope she didn’t suffer or see her death coming,” her father says.
‘We shall not forget them’
French President Francois Hollande unveiled plaques at attack sites in the city — at the Stade de France, outside the Petit Cambodge restaurant, in the Boulevard Voltaire, and at the Bonne Biere and Belle Equipe cafes.
At the Bataclan, the President tore down a French flag to reveal the memorial, as the names of all 90 who perished there were read aloud in solemn ceremony.
It followed an emotional performance on Saturday night by musician Sting, a fundraiser for victim support charities at the newly opened Bataclan. He began with the words: “We shall not forget them.”