2 Weeks On, Paris Pays Homage To Victims Of Terrorist Attack France held a somber memorial ceremony Friday to remember the victims of the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. Two weeks ago, three teams of extremist gunmen killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more.
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2 Weeks On, Paris Pays Homage To Victims Of Terrorist Attack

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2 Weeks On, Paris Pays Homage To Victims Of Terrorist Attack

2 Weeks On, Paris Pays Homage To Victims Of Terrorist Attack

2 Weeks On, Paris Pays Homage To Victims Of Terrorist Attack

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/457617311/457617312" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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France held a somber memorial ceremony Friday to remember the victims of the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. Two weeks ago, three teams of extremist gunmen killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A national memorial service in Paris today paid homage to the victims of the November 13 attacks. It's been two weeks since the coordinated assaults, which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton was at the service.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: A military band and orchestra and a choir were among the performances at the hour-long ceremony. It was held in the courtyard of the imposing historic Invalide military complex in the heart of Paris, where France's national heroes and fallen military are usually honored. The symbolism was clear. President Francois Hollande said honor the martyrs who died in the Paris attacks as heroes of the nation.

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UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Speaking French).

QUIST-ARCTON: For 11 minutes, one by one, the names and ages of the dead were read out loud and their photographs projected on a giant screen. The eldest was 68, the youngest, just 17. Most were under the age of 35, says Hollande, adding that the youth of France has been struck at its core.

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FRANCOIS HOLLANDE: (Speaking French).

QUIST-ARCTON: Hollande says this generation has become the public face of France. He says those killed were out for a Friday evening of music, food, drink, sport and good company at a concert venue, at restaurants and bars when gunmen opened fire and near a main stadium on the outskirts of Paris.

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HOLLANDE: (Speaking French).

QUIST-ARCTON: Hollande says those responsible for the killings are enemies, an army of fanatic driven by hatred. The French president has pledged to crush and destroy Islamic State, which says it was responsible for the Paris attacks. Hollande has spent the week shuttling from Washington to Germany and Moscow on a whistle-stop diplomatic mission to drum up support for French plans to combat ISIS terrorism.

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QUIST-ARCTON: Soothing music from a cello soloist echoed and wafted across the flagstone own courtyard. Survivors, some wounded and in wheelchairs and even stretchers, and families of victims sat on one side of the esplanade on a crisp and bracing Paris morning, with giant French blue, white and red flags fluttering overhead. Not all family members accepted the invitation to attend the ceremony. Some, like Mathieu Mauduit chose to boycott, saying the government has failed to protect France.

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MATHIEU MAUDUIT: (Speaking French).

QUIST-ARCTON: Speaking to a popular French television station BFMTV, MAUDUIT, whose brother, Cedric, was killed, says he didn't want to meet politicians who had had months to beef up security after the deadly January attacks in Paris but had failed to do so.

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NELLY: (Speaking French).

QUIST-ARCTON: The same argument from the mother of another victim, who lost her son Yannick and buried him yesterday. She gave her first name as Nelly and told BFMTV before the ceremony that she hesitated but would attend and was expecting an apology from President Hollande. That apology was not forthcoming, in so many words.

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HOLLANDE: (Speaking French).

QUIST-ARCTON: However, the French leader says those who lost their lives in the Paris terror attacks died while embracing the core French values of fraternity, liberty and democracy. We will not give in to fear or hatred, says President Hollande

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

QUIST-ARCTON: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Paris.

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