By Hadley Barndollar
One hundred twenty-nine people were confirmed dead on Sunday after seven terrorist attacks ravaged the streets of Paris, with ISIS claiming responsibility. The attacks were carried out by at least seven militants, some wearing suicide vests. Three hundred and fifty people are reported injured.
In Durham on Sunday evening, over 60 people gathered underneath the Thompson Hall flagpole, where candles lit somber faces. Phi Mu Delta hosted the vigil, which was called “UNH stands with Paris.”
Past UNH student body president and fraternity member Joe Sweeney led the conversation as a circle formed in silence.
“We are a generation that has seen a lot of fear,” Sweeney said. “We can’t remember a time that the world has made a lot of sense to us.”
Sweeney asked students to use the evening to be “solemn and somber” and to remember to not give in.
“We cannot be afraid to go to sporting events, to takes planes, ride trains,” he said. Sweeney used the candles as a metaphor, comparing the flame to the spread of love.
“Tonight is a night for prayers, to remember the acts of violence that happen everyday around the world.”
While students stood in silence and passed candlelight to his or her neighbor, a female bystander echoed a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that,” she said. “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
UNH French lecturers Elizabeth Hebbard and Emilie Talpin presented the crowd with the opportunity to write cards to be sent overseas. They would mail the cards this week over to family and friends in Paris, with hopes that the cards will make their way to City Hall.
Students knelt on the ground, sharing pens and scribbling their thoughts to a mourning nation across the pond.
To end the vigil, a smaller group of students held hands in a circle, reciting prayers in both English and French.
“I never expected so many people to come over and pray with us,” said sophomore Emily Fontaine.
Dozens of candles arranged in a peace sign burned on the ground, radiating light into a dark night in Durham.