Hundreds gathered at Love Park for a somber vigil Saturday night to honor the city of Paris, following the terror attacks that killed at least 129 and injured more than 300 others.
A French flag was tied to the LOVE sculpture and dozens of candles illuminated as the iconic peace sign in the shape of the Eiffel Tower below.
Paul Jensen, of South Philadelphia, came to the vigil with a french flag wrapped around him like a blanket. “I honestly think we need to show the world that we care. The French have always been there for us, so we need to be there for them.”
The vigil was organized by French cultural and civic groups and the Consular General of France in Philadelphia.
The crowd, most of them french-speaking, looked down in silence at the flickering candles for most of the vigil. However, Love Park began to bounce echoes of the French National Anthem as the large group remembered in song.
Chloe Tinchint, one of the event organizers, is a student from France who won’t be returning for another year until she’s finished with school. Luckily, her family back home is safe, but the distance between them and makes her very anxious. “I’m feeling sad today because I’m far away,” she says. “I can’t understand someone who can kill another person ‘just because.'”
The wish wall that’s usually brought out each holiday season for Love Park’s Christmas Village, saw an increase of notes over the course of the night. Most mentioned words like ‘love’, ‘peace’ and ‘prayer’.
Other sites across Philadelphia paid respects to France after the attacks last Friday. The Convention Center, Lit Brothers building and Cira Center all lit up in blue, white and red, among others.