Arnaud Beltrame: France bids farewell to hero of Trebes terror attack - pictures
Macron speaks at national memorial ceremony for gendarme killed after swapping places with a hostage in Trebes terror attack
Hundreds of people have gathered in Paris to pay their respects to Arnaud Beltrame, the French police officer who died in last week’s terror attack in Trebes.
The 44-year-old gendarme was killed after taking the place of a woman being held hostage by an Islamist gunman in a supermarket in the town, near Carcassonne in southwest France, on Friday. Three others died in the attack.
Beltrame’s coffin, draped in the tricolour, was escorted through the capital ahead of a state funeral with full military honours.
Addressing mourners during a ceremony at the Hotel Les Invalides military museum, French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the fallen officer, saying that Beltrame symbolised “the French spirit of resistance”.
“To accept to die so the innocent can live: that is the essence of what it means to be a soldier,” Macron said. “Others, even many who are brave, would have wavered or hesitated.”
The president added that “while the name of his murderer is already being forgotten, the name of Arnaud Beltrame will always represent French heroism”.
Beltrame has been posthumously awarded France’s highest accolade, the Legion d’honneur.
His family said it was typical of him to put others first, news website The Local reports.
“You behaved in your last moments just as you behaved throughout your whole life: as a patriot, as a good man, as a man with a big heart,” said Beltrame’s brother Damien.
Their other brother, Cedric, said the officer had given his life “for strangers” and knew he had “almost no chance” of surviving. “If that doesn’t make him a hero, I don’t know what would,” he added.