Brussels Airport paid tribute to the victims of the attack exactly one year ago with a commemoration ceremony that was attended by the King and Queen of Belgium.
The commemoration took place in front of the terminal where 1,500 people gathered, including victims, relatives, rescue workers and airport employees.
A minute’s silence was held after the reading of the deceased victims’ names, followed by the laying of the wreath.
All activity at the airport – including check-in, baggage conveyor belts, shops, restaurants, the boarding of passengers, and the loading and unloading of luggage – was paused for the one minute’s silence at 7.58am, the exact time the first bomb exploded in the departures hall.
Arnaud Feist, CEO at Brussels Airport Company, said, “Our thoughts go out today to the victims of the tragic attacks which hit our country on 22 March 2016. The victims have shown incredible courage in overcoming their pain and are still showing it today. This date will forever remain a difficult anniversary for our country, for everyone in the airport community and especially for the victims of this unimaginable event.
“We have gone through a trying and intense year, driven as we were by the will to repair the damage of these attacks as quickly as possible: the material damage as well as the human damage.”
The sculpture Flight of mind by artist Olivier Strebelle has been relocated to the memorial garden at the entrance of the airport site after being damaged in the terminal during the attacks.
Its reveal played a role in the day of events, and the delegation visited the garden following the ceremony. The art is the centerpiece of the garden and is a symbol of support for those affected by the attacks. The decision was taken not to repair it, but to instead restore it.
Feist added, “With its wounds, the sculpture will always be a silent witness to the attacks of March 22, 2016, and a tribute to all the victims. It will forever bear the scars of those cowardly deeds.
“At the same time, for many among us, today more than ever, the sculpture’s ‘wings’ are a symbol of freedom. With the scars of the attack permanently visible, as a metaphor of the victims, it is also a strong symbol of resilience, strength and courage.”