These last 36 hours have been incredibly emotional for most of the world as it followed the tragic events in Paris. An all-out assault on one of the most beloved cities on the planet was an attack on peace, love, culture, beauty and everything that Paris symbolizes.
Like you, I was horrified to learn of the attacks and the climbing death toll throughout the evening. It felt like a terrible nightmare that we couldn't wake from. The worst was that while these were extremely well-coordinated attacks, they were targeted at random people. Victims came from all backgrounds and the target sites were regular places where Parisians loved to hang out on a Friday night. That is the horror of last night - that it didn't matter who you were - the terrorists were indiscriminate. September 11th changed the world forever, but I feel like the Paris attacks have taken terrorism to an entirely different level.
I'm still in mourning for those who lost their lives in Paris. When I talk about the attacks my eyes still well up with tears. That city was like my second home, but it is the primary home to many of my friends (who are all safe). Even though I was last there in March and have been there too many times to count, I can still smell the muggy scent of the streets after a rain shower, be blinded by the sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower at night, smell the sweet aromas of the chocolate shops in the 6th, hear jazz being played in bars in the 11th and take in the stillness of the Seine early Sunday mornings.
Paris is a part of my soul and last night my soul was aching; aching for a city that has been broken by hatred but not broken in spirit. And I join the millions around the world, sending love and light to a city that has given us so much of that for centuries.
Vive la France.