The tower honored the innocent lives that were lost through a cruel bombing attack that happened in Sri Lanka which no country deserves to have.
Ironically a day of joy and celebration, the Easter of 2019 marked a horrible, cold-blooded and cruel attack in Sri Lanka. A co-ordinated chain of blasts took place across the country in several churches and high-end hotels. And the death toll has risen to 290 people, according to CNN.
To honor the innocent people who lost their lives in the horrific attack, the Eiffel Tower went dark as the clock read 12 a.m. "Tonight, from 12:00 am, I will turn my lights off to pay tribute to the victims of the Sri Lanka attacks," said the official Twitter account of the Eiffel Tower.
Ce soir, je m'éteindrai dès 00h00 pour rendre hommage aux victimes des attentats du Sri Lanka🇱🇰— La tour Eiffel (@LaTourEiffel) April 21, 2019
Tonight, from 12:00 am, I will turn my lights off to pay tribute to the victims of the Sri Lanka attacks🇱🇰 #SriLanka pic.twitter.com/a3tv8b58wn
This was the moment the lights went off, silently honoring the victims who left the world because of violence on a day that's sacred to Christians. Apart from the 290 that were killed, about 500 people were left injured.
#WATCH France: The Eiffel Tower in Paris went dark at the midnight, as a tribute to those who lost their lives in the serial bombings in Sri Lanka on 21st April. More than 200 people died & 450 were injured in the bombings that took place in churches & hotels of the country,y'day pic.twitter.com/w2ScUB7ua0— ANI (@ANI) April 22, 2019
As Easter services were being conducted, three churches were almost simultaneously bombed and five high-end hotels were also targeted. It was a day when hundreds of people across Sri Lanka gathered for the Easter worship service. Father Edmond Tillekeratne, social communications director for the Archdiocese of Colombo, said that over a thousand people attended the St. Sebastian's Church, which was one of the bomb sites and claimed the lives of 102 people. "You can see pieces of flesh thrown all over the walls and on the sanctuary and even outside of the church," said the Father.
This photo taken at St. Sebastian's Church, one of several holy sites attacked in Sri Lanka on Sunday, captures the horror many experienced this weekend https://t.co/KR1l3u0YXn pic.twitter.com/jmWaXxKiN0— CNN (@CNN) April 21, 2019
One man, Dilip Fernando usually attends mass at St. Sebastian's, but given the huge crowd on Easter, decided to go to another church. This decision probably saved his life because shortly after he left, the blast took place.
“I usually come to services here,” said the 66-year-old, according to The Guardian. “Yesterday me and my wife arrived at 7.30am but it was so crowded there was no place for me. I didn’t want to stand so I left and went to another church.” But he says that a few members of his family that were present at St. Sebastian's saw the bomber entering the church that day. While they were sitting outside because there was no place inside and hence were not harmed, numerous others were.
When he talked about the man who his relatives saw and believe must have been the bomber, he said, “At the end of the mass they saw one young man go into the church in with a heavy bag,” Fernando said. “He touched my granddaughter’s head on the way past. It was the bomber.” The relatives described him to look young and innocent, possibly in his 30s. “He was not excited or afraid. He was so calm.”
Fernando would have never imagined this would happen to the church he frequently visits. “I’m so lucky because normally I would go to this church. We are relieved, we were so lucky but we’re really sad for the whole village,” he said. “There are going to be huge funerals in this village soon.”
Eight blasts across Sri Lanka killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds of others, prompting the government to impose a nationwide curfew and block social media https://t.co/NCT2QXO3QG pic.twitter.com/4gMty8JcBP— CNN (@CNN) April 21, 2019
Akshat Saraf, 30, was in Colombo's Shangri-La Hotel with his wife and infant daughter when the explosion happened. He recalled the horrific attack and said, “First blast was very loud and our room started shaking. At first, I thought it was a thunderstorm and I didn’t pay too much attention. It had been raining in Sri Lanka for some time. It was the second blast when I sensed that something was not right.”
Along with his family and his passports, the guest rushed to the ground floor and that's when they saw glimpses of the aftermath. "When we reached the 4th floor we saw blood on the stairs... It was a horrific sight. When I saw injured guests, they seemed very serious. Some of them [had] chunks of glass stuck in their body. I could see some of the chefs in white aprons covered in blood," the guest said.
While just like Fernando and this hotel guest, a number of others would have witnessed the devastating event and even lost their family, friends, or loved ones in the attack. The entire world continues to stand by Sri Lanka, offering them prayers and support after the effects of what was a sad day for the entire world.