Monday, March 15, 2004

Spaniards in Cincinnati gather after bombings

By Maggie Downs
The Cincinnati Enquirer

EVANSTON - They prayed for children who lost parents. They prayed for those who lost friends. They prayed the terrorists would be forgiven.

Xavier student Leticia Martin, from Madrid, Spain, lights a candle during a memorial in front of Bellarmin Chapel on Xavier Campus on Sunday afternoon.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
On a blustery Sunday evening, 22 Spanish expatriates, students and friends gathered to remember those who died in Spain's recent terrorist attacks. The March 11 railway bombings killed 200 in Madrid.

The service in front of Xavier University's Bellarmine Chapel was planned by Madrid native Leticia Martin, 24, on Saturday.

"I felt impotent. I wasn't able to do anything in my city," she said, adding that almost 12 million people took to the streets in Spain to protest the attacks. "I feel so much compassion for those people, I can't stop thinking of them."

A moment of silence was shared before prayers began. Several people hugged each other. Tears were shed.

"People here don't feel the pain like we do," said Miguel Llamas, 25, of Clifton.

"It's helpful to be with other people who understand."

The Spanish flag - with a black ribbon pinned in the center - was draped on the concrete. Candles were scattered around it.

A sign on the ground read, "Our dead, your war." But not everyone shared that sentiment.

"This was about human beings," Martin said. "It's not politics."



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