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Vermont Expat Reflects On Paris Attacks

Daniel Ochoa de Olza
AP Photo
A public notice declares that the Louvre museum is closed for national mourning in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.

After a series of six terror attacks in France over the weekend, many Parisians are in a state of shock over the violence in the capital.

Montpelier native Bill Durkee has been living in Paris for nearly three decades. Durkee recounted his experiences during the attacks to VPR's Alex Keefe Saturday evening.

On first hearing the reports Friday evening:

"We were about a thirty minute walk from the nightclub where [an attack] took place. We were out to dinner. News started to trickle in, and people went on social media. Twitter went wild. We were following what was happening. Rumors were flying, but we knew something serious was happening in the city."

"We just knew that we wanted to be somewhere safe, and we knew that out in the streets was not safe."- Bill Durkee

"We finished up dinner around midnight, and we made our way home. That's when we found out exactly what was happening. There was so much confusion. We just knew that we wanted to be somewhere safe, and we knew that out in the streets was not safe."

On the randomness of the attacks:

"This is unlike anything any of us have lived before. With the Charlie Hebdo attacks, it was a very target attack. It was retribution for what they had published.  This is pure terror. This is pure terrorism. They attacked neighborhoods where people go in cafes to be out with their friends, and primarily young people. They knew that these places would be full of people. They wanted to make the general population fearful. So to us, this is terrorism in its purest form. It feels that way."

"To us, this is terrorism in its purest form. It feels that way."

On his decision to go out Saturday evening:

"We have to do this. We have to go out. This is exactly what they were trying to instill in us, this kind of fear. We can't stay home and not go to our friend's homes and enjoy their company and have a great meal. I don't think we'll talk in depth about this... we almost don't want to talk again about all of that."

Annie Russell was VPR's Deputy News Director. She came to VPR from NPR's Weekends on All Things Considered and WNYC's On The Media. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School.
Alex was a reporter and host of VPR's local All Things Considered. He was also the co-host and co-creator of the VPR program Brave Little State.
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