A solemn ceremony was held on Friday for the victims of the Paris attacks, with President Francois Hollande vowing that France would respond to the “army of fanatics” with more songs, concerts and shows.
“We will not give in either to fear or to hate,” said Hollande in the courtyard of the Invalides buildings in central Paris, speaking to 2,000 dignitaries, families of the victims, and those injured in the violence. The ceremony was also broadcast live on TV.
Proceedings began with the president's arrival to the sound of the national anthem La Marseillaise, played by the Republican Guard.
Photos of the 130 people killed in the attacks of November 13 played on a black screen, while singers performed the ballad 'Quand on n'a que l'amour' (When All We Have Is Love) by Belgian songwriter Jacques Brel.
Hollande was visibly affected as the names and ages of the 130 victims were read out one by one. He then gave a 20-minute speech which praised the solidarity shown by France following the attacks and gave a “solemn promise” to “destroy” Isis.
The rows of seats filling up for Hollande's 20 minute speech in which he will pay homage to 'Generation Bataclan' pic.twitter.com/i56fDBWLYv
— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) November 27, 2015
He added “Isis has a cult of of death, but we have love, a love of life. We will not change.”
Hollande said “130 destinies had been stolen, 130 laughs that will never be heard again,” adding that the victims had come from more than 50 places in France and 17 countries.
He paid particular tribute to France's younger generation – the majority of those killed were under the age of 35 – and said that the 'Bataclan generation' had “become the face of France”.
“It's because they represented life that they were killed, it's because they represented France that they were slaughtered, it's because they represented freedom that they were massacred,” said Hollande.
He said the best way France could respond to the attacks was with more “songs, concerts and shows.”
(Photos: The Local)
“Every French citizen can take part (in the tribute) by taking the opportunity to deck their home with a blue, white and red flag, the colours of France,” government spokesman Stephane Le Foll quoted Hollande as saying.
— Boussardon Benjamin (@boussdu87) November 27, 2015
Even though I am on holiday and far away from the Ile de France, thinking lots of the victims of the attacks
— La France au Japon (@ambafrancejp) November 27, 2015
French people in Japan and friends of France join in the national day of homage