Tears, Songs and Hope at Brussels Vigil

Friday, March 25, 2016
Tears, Songs and Hope at Brussels Vigil
Workers from the City of Brussels collect some of the tributes to preserve them at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, March, 25, 2016.

Belgium's capital stock exchange has become the site of national mourning. Hundreds of Belgians have been gathering in front of the 19th century building since the day after the attacks, laying flowers and candles in memory of the 31 killed and more than 300 injured in Tuesday's terror attacks.

Defiance and unity were the words used by many who gathered on Friday. "We're very unlucky; it's terrible for the victims. But don't ever had a bad idea of Belgium," said Anna Pastor.

A minute of silence was observed Place de La Bourse on Wednesday and Thursday, and on Friday the Brussels Philharmonic performed Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."

"People are expressing their feelings," said local resident Quentin Raimaikers. "Singing, or watching like me, everyone is expressing their feelings differently."

The atmosphere on the small square went from extreme sadness to joy, with many offering free hugs and smiles. A large group of students occupied the steps of the building all day Wednesday singing the most popular songs in the country.

"It makes me really happy to see this," said Nicolas Etienne, "because even the darkness we can have light."

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