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Nous n'oublierons jamais / We will never forget

To the little girl in the pink jacket, the little patch of raised stone adorned with metallic shapes was just something else at the park for her to play with.

As she gingerly balanced herself, her mother extended a guiding hand and gently scolded her: “You can’t walk on that.”

The girl couldn’t have been older than five, couldn’t have known what her mom knew. It wasn’t any old structure in any old park on any other day.

The bits of metal spelled out Hélène Colgan, the letters adorning one of 14 stone markers for 14 young women, victims of a massacre at the University of Montreal’s École Polytechnique in 1989.

Saturday, Dec. 6, marked a quarter century since this horrific act of violence.

The little girl and her family were among many who passed through this long, narrow memorial park just a stone’s throw from the university.

Flowers and candles paid silent tribute to so many lives lost far too soon.