France Mourns as Christian Police Officer 'Hero' Honored with State Funeral
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French Police Officer and hero Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame receives a state funeral. He died in a hostage stand-off with an Islamic extremist on March 24 after he volunteered to trade places with a female hostage.
According to reports, the suspect shot and stabbed the 44-year-old Beltrame, after the exchange at the local supermarket in Trebes, in southern France where the terrorist attacked.
Beltrame has become a hero throughout France, known for his self-sacrifice, patriotism and Christian faith. He was awarded the Legion of Honor, the nation's highest honor, at his funeral.
According to The Tablet, during the service, French President Emmanuel Macron compared Beltrame's sacrifice to those of France's World War II heroes and said his example would "remain etched in French hearts."
"At the moment of the final goodbye I offer you the recognition, the admiration and the affection of the whole country," Macron said.
The president also said that "while the name of his murderer is already being forgotten, the name of Arnaud Beltrame will always represent French heroism."
The service which was held at the Cour d'honneur at the Hôtel des Invalides, was broadcast on all of France's major television networks. A French flag draped Beltrame's casket as 200 of his fellow police officers who worked with him stood at attention in the rain.
Pope Francis paid tribute to Beltrame earlier this week saying he gave his life "wanting to protect people."
As CBN News reported, evangelist Franklin Graham wrote in a Facebook post on Monday, "This policeman was an extraordinary hero. Pray for his family and friends—and the others who lost loved ones in this attack on Friday—in their great loss."
"He gave his life for strangers," Beltrame's brother Cedric told a French radio station, according to BBC News. "He must have known that he didn't really have a chance. If that doesn't make him a hero, I don't know what would."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke about Beltrame's sacrifice.
"We grieve with you over the loss of innocent French lives and of a true hero, the officer Arnaud Beltrame, a hero of humanity, not only a hero of France, and we understand this very well," he said during the visit of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to Jerusalem.
Four people died in the attack, including Beltrame, two others in the supermarket and one during a carjacking.
Police killed the Moroccan-born gunman, Radouane Lakdim, 25, when they stormed the supermarket.
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