By Adam Cook
As information is still coming out about the terrorist attacks in Paris this past weekend, United States citizens who were in Paris at the time are coming home to be reunited with their family members and loved ones.
Two professors from UNH had been in Paris attending a scholarly meeting at the time of the attacks. Professor Carol Conaway, an associate professor of women’s studies, and Dr. Marla Brettschneider, a professor of women’s studies and political science, are both safe and back in the United States now, but had been close to the site of the attacks when they happened.
“I arrived last night at Logan Airport in Boston, and I was greatly relieved,” said Conaway.
Conaway had been in the northern parts of Paris enjoying dinner with a group of her friends when the attacks began. She found out about what was happening by watching the news in the restaurant.
“We were gripped with fear and uncertainty as to what to do next,” Conaway said as she then had to try and find a way back to her apartment in central Paris.
Conaway said she and her friends found a lonely cab in an abandoned back boulevard that, after a lot of discussion and bribe, the taxi driver agreed to bring them back into the city.
“We had to sit up until 3 a.m. just trying to process what had happened in the attacks, trying to overcome our shock, which still hasn’t happened although this is three days later,” Conaway said. “We began to feel our grief set in, and had great anxiety about the future.”
“I was very, very thankful to reach Boston alive,” Conaway said in conclusion.
Dr. Marla Brettschneider was closer to the attacks as she was right near the restaurant La Belle Equipe, which was where 19 people were killed. Brettschneider was staying with some friends from Paris, as well as a multicultural family.
“I was concerned about what was going on, but for some reason considered it all over by the time I understood what was going on,” Brettschneider said.
Since Brettschnieder was near the restaurant where one of the attacks took place she was able to describe the scene firsthand.
“When bunches of emergency vehicles came screaming- what felt like right towards me- I tried to get out of the area,” Brettschneider said, “the 16 year old girl in the family I was with was very frightened and she is still really traumatized.”
On Wednesday, Nov. 18, UNH put on a candlelit vigil for the victims and everyone affected by the terrorist attacks in Paris in the Murkland Hall courtyard. Dr. Brettschneider was asked to speak about her experience at the time of the attacks, but was unable to make it.
“I am glad that it is happening and would have appreciated the opportunity,” said Brettschneider alluding to the candlelit vigil.
Both of the professors are safe and back in the United States.