The Heroes Of Nice, France: Even In The Midst Of Terror, Heroism Shines

As the world is devastated by yet another senseless act of terrorism, the tales of heroism emerge, as they so often do.

The story of the terrorist attack that occurred in Nice, while crowds were gathered to celebrate Bastille Day, is one that has become all-too-familiar worldwide. A terrorist intent on slaughter, twisting the purpose of his religion and using it as a blade against the world. People are left killed or wounded. Families are devastated. Entire countries mourn, and the world mourns with them.

And yet, just as often as these terrorist acts happen, the world learns that heroes walk among us everyday, wearing everyday clothes and doing everyday things. Even in the midst of terrorism, heroism continues to shine.

There were heroes in Nice, France. Both were men who were simply celebrating Bastille Day — the French equivalent of Independence Day — in the beautiful city of Nice, when the terrorist driving a truck, intent on taking as many lives as possible, begin to plow through the unsuspecting crowd, who were gathered to watch a fireworks show.

German journalist Richard Gutjahr watched the terrorist attack from above, on a balcony on the Promenade de Anglais, the Huffington Post reports, and saw the truck ripping through the crowds. And as the terrorist in his rented truck barreled past, he saw that it was being chased by a motorcycle.

“All of a sudden, with all the people, all the families celebrating, this truck was approaching and it was approaching very slowly so it didn’t really rush but you could ask yourself ‘What is a truck doing in the heart of this?” Gutjahr recalled.

It wasn’t until he saw the hero on the motorcycle that he realized the truck was being driven through the crowd deliberately, that he was witnessing a terrorist attack.

“The motorcyclist attempted to overtake the truck and even tried to open the driver’s door, but he fell and ended up under the wheels of the truck.”

Gutjahr added, “Right afterwards I personally saw 12 dead bodies, and it was already clear there would be more.” At least 84 people were killed, including the hero on the motorcycle, in the terror attack in Nice, the Independent reports.

Panic ensued.

“From that moment on the rampage took place. The vehicle accelerated and ran in a very odd way right in the middle of the crowd,” he said.

“The panic really kicked in when the gunshots were shot and it went on for 15-20 seconds of gunfire from several guns. That was the moment when everyone understood that it was not just an ordinary accident.”

But there would be another hero at the terror attack in Nice, France.

The truck apparently stalled in its deadly path, and one man took advantage of that momentary halt in carnage. The unidentified hero leaped into the cab of the truck and wrestled with the terrorist, managing to capture one of his weapons. The terrorist grabbed another gun and fired, but police closed in on him, killing him before he could harm anyone else, the New York Daily News reports.

The man who wrestled with the terrorist was not injured.

When the news is so often yet another report of devastation, of terror, when children are killed, and it seems as though there is little mercy left in this world, it’s these stories that need to be told. The stories of the heroes who, in the face of unspeakable terror, were willing to sacrifice themselves in hopes of halting the onslaught. Lives are lost, and loved ones are left bereft and grieved, but there are almost always moments of heroism, when a man or woman stands strong in their hope, in their belief of right, in their willingness to sacrifice themselves in order to protect others. Sometimes they were uniforms, and sometimes they do not. There were heroes present at the terror attack in Nice. Let their stories be the ones that color the narrative.

There may be terror in this world, but the world gives us heroes, as well.

[Photo by David Ramos/Staff/Getty Images News]