Letter From Paris: Air France Flight 447

Père-Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris at 118.6 acres and is said to be the world's most visited home to the dead. It was with some surprise that while taking a stroll there, we came across a memorial to the victims of Air France Flight 447.
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A couple of days ago, the Lone Wolf and I were taking one of our strolls through the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, which is an endlessly fascinating park to us. For those who don't know: Père-Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris at 118.6 acres and is said to be the world's most visited home to the dead. I can see why. It is beautiful and grand, full of mysterious, elegant monuments and stories of lost souls who have been laid to rest. The park evokes curiosity and wonder of its residents' lives in the many visitors who trek through it looking up the dead celebrities.

L.W. and I haven't discovered every famous grave, but we have found many. We know parts of the cemetery quite well. And so it was with some surprise that we came across this memorial to the victims of Air France Flight 447, the jet that fell out of the sky on its fated trip from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.


We hadn't noticed the monument before, or we hadn't walked down that cobblestone rue since it had been unveiled, which turns out to have been June 1, 2010. Upon seeing it, we thought it perfectly done.


...Families mourned in more than a dozen languages and the Air France choir performed Verdi's Requiem in a ceremony Tuesday honoring the 228 people killed when a Rio de Janeiro-Paris flight crashed into the Atlantic Ocean a year ago.

Robert Soulas was one of about 1,000 relatives attending a ceremony at the Paris Floral Park and the unveiling of a monument to honor the victims of Flight 447 at the French capital's renowned Pere Lachaise cemetery.

He told The Associated Press that his biggest hope is that the flight recorders are found, and with them answers.

"Our emotion is more intense than ever because we don't have many answers," said Soulas, who lost his daughter in the crash...

As we know now, the black boxes have been brought up though they have yet to tell their tale, while the bodies will remain on the dark ocean floor. I honor the victims of this tragedy (and their families) by showing their memorial inscribed with 228 birds, representing them.



Their bodies may be on the deep ocean bottom, but their souls have flown away.

I hope the black boxes will allow their families to find peace.

Photos by Beth Arnold.

Beth Arnold lives and writes fiction as well as nonfiction in Paris. To see more of her work, go to www.betharnold.com.