French Republican guards carry the flag-draped coffin of the hero officer Arnaud Beltrame in Paris, France on March 28, 2018. Amid rains, a ceremony was held on Wednesday at the military museum Les Invalides in Paris to pay tribute to the hero officer Arnaud Beltrame, who died of serious wounds he got when he voluntarily swapped himself for a female hostage during an attack on a supermarket in Trebes, southern France, on Friday. (Xinhua/Jack Chan)
PARIS, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Amid rains, a ceremony was held on Wednesday at the military museum Les Invalides in Paris to pay tribute to the hero officer Arnaud Beltrame, who died of serious wounds he got when he voluntarily swapped himself for a female hostage during an attack on a supermarket in Trebes, southern France, on Friday.
About 2,000 people, citizens, government members, politicians and police officers, gathered at the nuseum to express their respect and gratitude for the "veteran soldier" and "elite policeman".
Presiding over the official ceremony, French President Emmanuel Macron said Beltrame "knew surely that he had an appointment with death, but even more with his truth of man, soldier, leader."
"To accept to die so that innocent people live, such is the commitment of the soldier. That's the grandeur that stunned France. This grandeur worth of his leaders, his colleagues' esteem," he added.
Macron told the gathering that the killed gendarme "embodies France's resistance spirit", which mirrored an "inflexible determination" to preserve the country's freedom.
Beltrame was one of the gendarmes that rushed to the supermarket in Trebes, where a gunman held about 50 people as captives.
The 44-year-old officer offered himself up unarmed to the attacker in exchange for the woman who was taken as a human shield, and managed to leave his phone on a table with an open line so that police could hear what was going on inside the supermarket.
Once gunshots were heard, police launched the assault and killed the gunman.
The gendarme, who once served in Iraq, was seriously injured in the attack and succumbed to his injuries in hospital where he was rushed once the siege ended.
In the Islamic State-claimed assault, the attacker killed four people and injured 15 others.
Facing extremism which he called "an insidious enemy that requires ... a renewed vigilance and civism," French president stressed "the glow that Arnaud Beltrame ignited in us did not go out with him. On the contrary, it has spread. "
"May his commitment nourish the vocation of all our youth," he said, inviting French to show unity to overcome the underground extremism "that is progressing through social networks, that works in an invisible way, that acts clandestinely on weak or unstable minds."
At the national tribute to Beltrame who "fell as a hero", a minute of silence was observed in the country's prefectures, gendarmerie and police stations. And the flags were half-mast early Wednesday.