I have had a love affair with Paris for as long as I can remember. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Hemingway. Toulouse Lautrec. These are the characters that fill my head. I always imagined living on the Left Bank, La Rive Gauche. Of getting up at sun rise, watching the sunlight glitter over the rooftops, drinking lattes and eating perfect pâtisseries. In the afternoon enjoying wine and baguettes, a wonderful dinner. Writing poetry and falling in love. These were the pursuits I dreamed of in my Paris.
My Great-Grandfather was born in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. It is so close to the German border that he told stories of how often they would be traded back and forth. He came in the United States just before the First World War. I have a picture of him; a good looking young man next to a biplane, looking gallant and brave. This is my image of what bravery looks like.
France. And bravery. Not often those words are put together in this modern world.
The events of tonight make me feel scared. It makes me scared for my life and my family’s safety. For my son’s future. It makes me angry. Angry that the darkness threatens to envelop this world.
It makes me sad.
But it will not beat me down. It will not break my belief in humanity. We are incredible beings, limited only by our own thoughts. I believe in the goodness of people. I believe that humanity is better than this evil.
Today, we are all French. Today, we are all brave. Today, we are all human.
We will win.