by Zach Logan
Armstrong student and French Club president, Gannon Mason, was working Friday, Nov. 13, when he received the news about the Paris terror attacks.
“It came as a shock. It’s a crazy world out there,” Mason said.
Emily Randall, a leader of Armstrong’s French Club, first saw the news on Twitter and informed club members, like Mason.
“[I] immediately turned on the news. The first thing that registered with me was the same feeling of helplessness as when 9/11 happened,” Randall said.
Over 120 people are dead and 352 are injured after a series of terrorist attacks in Paris. According to CNN, “Three teams of terrorists staged coordinated attacks at six locations throughout Paris late Friday. Those locations include the Stade de France, a concert hall, and a number of bars and restaurants.
All locations were filled with people enjoying their Friday night out. Hours after the attacks, ISIS stated that they were responsible for the deadly events. So far, one American has died from Friday’s attacks. Nohemi Gonzalez was a student at California State University-Long Beach who was studying abroad in Paris.
These recent attacks have sparked an important question: Will Armstrong still host its spring study abroad program in France? French professor Dr. Dorothée Mertz-Weigel said that, as of now, the trip will still take place.
“As part of the University System of Georgia, there are certain decisions that are made above us concerning matters of safety and security for our students. A few years ago, a trip to Mexico had to be cancelled because of matters of safety, so there is precedent at our university,” Mertz said.
Both Mason and Randall have never been to Paris, but are looking forward to seeing the city next year. Both are planning to participate in the study abroad program and say the attacks will not keep them from traveling to France.
“We will heal with love and hope and not let fear dictate our lives,” Randall said.
Since the attacks, people throughout the world have displayed their support for the French. Monuments were lit to represent the colors of the French Flag, including the One World Trade Center in Manhattan and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
On Wednesday, Nov. 18, the French Club held a moment of silence for Paris in front of Armstrong’s Student Union.
Randall noted “We are honoring Paris as a whole and mourning the victims. We are applauding the bravery of [the] survivors.”
Mason plans to donate blood for those needing assistance in France this weekend. He mentions that there are ways to help those in Paris, even for those who are miles away. The American Red Cross is offering assistance to the French Red Cross. To find your local Red Cross, check out redcross.org.