While over a thousand miles may separate our continents, nothing separated the fear and concern many people felt from the recent attack in Paris. Keene State College felt obligated to respond supportively.
Hosted by the French Club, and supplied by the Foley Funeral Home here in Keene, a register book in which KSC students and faculty could sign their names for respect of the deceased was available in the Student Center.
Professor of Modern Languages Tom Durnford helped organize the event. “The students approached me with the idea on Monday following the terrorist attack and they wanted to express in some way their solidarity with the French,” he said.
He said that most of the students have already been or are planning to study in France “so they wanted to demonstrate the fact that they are still committed to learning French.”
Durnford said he inquired about a register book from the Foley Funeral Home where they graciously donated it for the cause.
“With that, we’ve been having people, staff [and] students [sign], and once the book is pretty much finished, it will go to President Huot, she’s going to add her comments. And [then] it will be sent to the Consul General France in Boston,” Durnford said.
KSC Senior Patrick McGee said the Consul General France in Boston is a very official, important place. ”That’s where you get your visa,” he said.
McGee also volunteered with the event. He said that, prior to the book signing, he had been going around campus requesting signatures. “Well it’s for the people of France, obviously after last Friday we’re doing this to show solidarity,” McGee said.
He said he’s been to France a few times himself. “I’ve studied there,” he said. He also commented that these recent attacks won’t deter him from going back. “Nothing can stop me from going back to France; it’s a beautiful place,” McGee said.
He continued, “I love France; it’s a great country, great people. It’s just scary.”
Adjunct French professor Peter Graboski said, “It’s an escalation; it represents something that is going to take tensions to a new level.”
He continued, “I think that we have to first of all reach out the French people and have them understand that we are with them because we’re all in this together; these are common values that we all share.”
KSC first-year Catharine Ross said she finds the recent attacks terrifying. She said, “Obviously it was an awful thing and as of now, I’m scared of what’s going to happen next.”
She said she would probably go to the book signing and has seen other schools have similar responses. “I’ve seen other colleges do candle vigils for it,” she said.
KSC Senior Kanesha Campbell said we need to help France as much as possible. “[I’m] just sending prayers and well wishes to everyone out there,” she said. Campbell said she would sign the book if she was around when it showed up.
Graboski said he found the book signing a small yet applicable way to send our support. “That’s the least that we can do to say, we are with you, ‘we appreciate who you are’,” Graboski said.
He continued, “Right now, the best thing that we can do is cooperate with France in any way that we can, especially in sharing intelligence and making sure no one falls through the cracks.”
Dorothy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org