MIAMI (CBSMiami) — With thousands of miles separating us, South Floridians gathered in solidarity with Paris, praying for the victims of the terror attacks.
Various vigils were held in South Florida on Monday.
Students at Nova Southeastern University in Davie made a circle of lights for the city of light.
“We will stand together,” said French student Louis Rich, a French flag draped over his shoulders. “We will rally together.”
Student Louis Rich is from western France. Most of his family members still live there – just two hours from Paris.
As he watched the images of the attacks on Friday night, he thought of all the times he’s visited the places that terrorists targeted.
“You’re not ready for this,” he said. “These events happen, but it’s very distressing.”
Rich said the candles, the moments of reflection and the notes of grief and solidarity by students for France spoke volumes.
“I think it’s beautiful seeing all these signs of support,” Rich said, adding that he believes it’s important people continue enjoying their freedoms to show the terrorists that we will not be cowed. “If we stop going to restaurants and concerts and these sorts of things then we’re showing them that they’ve won and that they’ve taken away our freedoms in the western ways and that’s not what we want.”
At Veterans Park in Boca Raton, about 50 people showed up with an American flag and French flag. They carried signs and sang songs to show their support and love for the people in Paris following Friday night’s terror attacks.
At the French consulate in Miami, people have been stopping by to sign a condolence book.
One woman wrote, “There are no words enough to express the pain for the loss of those innocent lives. My heart is bleeding.”
Students at Nova Southeastern University in Davie are also showing their support by putting on a vigil at 8 p.m. It was organized by a French national who is a student there.
Florida Atlantic University is also holding a vigil for the victims of the Paris massacre.
The events come after President Barack Obama spoke about how the U.S. and other nations plan to handle the attacks while at a G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey. He said they do plan on intensifying anti-terror strategies in response to the attacks.
“ISIL is the face of evil. As I have said many times our goal is to degrade and destroy this barbaric terrorist organization,” said Obama.
However, the president said sending ground troops to Syria to fight ISIS would be a “mistake.”
“We don’t kill people because they are different from us. That’s what separates us from them,” said Obama.
He also defended Syrian refugees amid criticism from some who blame the mass migration for the attacks.
“The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism, the most vulnerable as a consequence to civil war and strife. They are parents they are children. They are orphans,” said Obama.
All this as flags in the U.S. are flying at half-staff to honor lives lost in the attacks, security has been increased throughout the world and the search for those responsible continues.
Click here for more on the Paris attacks.