Like many other Americans, my heart grew increasingly heavy Friday as news reports of the terrorist attacks in France came in.
More than 120 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded in the series of coordinated attacks by suicide bombers, gunmen and grenade throwers. It was the worst terrorist attack the world has seen since Sept. 11, 2001.
Just as I had done 14 years ago, I was transfixed to my television, watching accounts of what had happened. I shuddered at the thought of those enjoying an evening out at the Bataclan concert hall to hear a concert becoming sitting ducks for the gunmen who used assault rifles to mow them down.
In the days since the attacks, leaders around the globe have condemned those responsible, the Islamic State or ISIS.
French President Francois Hollande has declared war in his country and approved airstrikes in Syria on ISIS targets. Good for him, and good for France.
I am no fan of war, but it seems unjust to let these bullies go unpunished for their actions. And that’s just what they are: bullies. Exactly like the stereotypical ones you see on a school playground.
If they can’t get their way, they push others around to make themselves feel better or more superior.
I have a hard time seeing how slaughtering people at a concert, or having dinner at a cafe, will further the efforts of the civil war in Syria.
Maybe that’s too simplistic a point of view. I know this is a complicated issue. If political experts can’t sort it out, how can I?
Yet, somehow, I feel compelled to act, moved by the atrocities.
While Paris, France, may seem so far removed from Boulder City, Nev., the alliance between the French and American people dates back to the Revolutionary War. The freedoms we enjoy today may not have been possible without aid from France.
Even our own Statue of Liberty, the very symbol of freedom and democracy, was a gift from the people of France.
This alliance and friendship was forged in 1778 when the U.S and France signed two treaties that gave America the support it needed to win its independence from Great Britain. The alliance came as supplies, arms and ammunition, uniforms, and, most importantly, troops and naval support.
That bond has continued throughout our nation’s history. It has been especially evident during wartimes, with the U.S. joining with France as part of the Allied nations during World War I and World War II, as well as siding with them during the Korean War as well as more recent conflicts, including the Gulf War.
This Global War on Terror is no different. And we should not let the fact that this attack didn’t happen here on U.S. soil stop us from being upset, hurt, angry, etc.
At this point, I’m not sure what we here in Boulder City can do to support our French allies, but one thing is clear. Our French brothers and sisters have always been there when we needed them, and we must be ready to lend a helping hand.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.