Glenwood man recounts aftermath of Nice attack
A Glenwood Springs family that has been visiting Nice, France, for the past several weeks was out of harm’s way when the Bastille Day terror attack took place last week. But it could have been a different story.
Steve Reynolds said he and his wife, Virginie, who is from Nice, and their two teenage children had considered going to the Promenade des Anglaise to watch the evening fireworks July 14 after a long day cleaning out Virginie’s mother’s house, but decided instead to turn in early.
Their daughter, Monica, woke them up about 1 a.m. to let them know she had been hearing the reports and getting messages asking if they were OK after word began to spread about the delivery truck driver who plowed into a crowd of holiday revelers on the Promenade, ultimately killing 84 people and injuring scores of others.
“We’re touched by all of the concerns and prayers and are thankful to be returning home shortly,” Reynolds told Facebook friends of their planned Tuesday return.
“Terrorism is destroying our freedom and our way of life,” he went on to say. “Pray for the victims, many were little kids and many more will live lives with severe injuries.”
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Authorities later identified the driver of the truck as 31-year-old Tunisian-born Mohamed Lahouaieg Bouhlel, and are treating the incident as an act of terrorism. Other possible accomplices have also since been detained.
The Reynolds family did visit the Promenade the night after the attack. Steve Reynolds described the scene as “very sad and somber,” and shared some photos on Facebook of the many impromptu memorials and signs that had been erected.
“There were lots of memorials set up along the Promenade and about 100 people paying their respects,” said Reynolds, who owns Steve Reynolds Wellness and is the former owner of The Gym in Glenwood Springs.
He said the Promenade reopened on Saturday, but it was not very busy.
“There’s a heavy sense of helplessness and people are just going through the motions of their daily lives,” Reynolds said, adding that the government announced a three-day mourning period and many businesses were closed. However, because it’s the middle of the summer tourist season on the French Riviera, some restaurants and businesses chose to stay open.
One of the difficulties in identifying some of the victims of the attack was the fact that they were tourists and didn’t have papers on them at the time, Reynolds said.
“I’ve talked to a few people that were there, and they all talk about how surreal it was. The French people seem to be getting picked on more than others,” said Reynolds, who also was in Nice during the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in January 2015.
His family was at a pre-holiday fireworks show the night of July 13 and actually talked about the possibility of a terrorist attack, but figured they were likely safer in Nice than perhaps Paris or one of the other larger European cities.
“It’s really part of their reality, and it’s really sad,” Reynolds said.
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