PARIS -- The American who was killed in the assault on Paris celebrated her 23rd birthday there last month. Nohemi Gonzalez was a student at Cal State-Long Beach on a semester abroad.
She was the one thought on the minds of her classmates Monday during the national moment of silence.
They are students of design who crafted a memorial for Gonzalez in the lobby she raced through on the way to class. The absence of sound deafened the mind.
A picture of Gonzalez under the moon in Amsterdam was shot by her friend, Cal State student Niran Jayasiri.
"She was always a very cheerful person. You hardly see her in a bad mood," said Jayasiri. "She always smiles at you even though how late she's been working. She's just a very charismatic person."
He may have been the last to see Gonzalez alive, standing next to her at a café as a terrorist opened fire.
"First I thought it was firecrackers because it sounded like firecrackers. When I looked into the direction where the noise was coming, I saw a gunman just walking on the sidewalk, just shooting everybody."
In that moment, he thought: "Run for it. Just run for it."
He ran with a wounded student. They hid until help arrived. Jayasiri and Ana Rameriz met Gonzalez as freshmen four years ago.
"The way I see it is not that we lost her, but we have to just remember what she taught us," said Rameriz. "That's how she's gonna be present with us. And I know she's here with us."
As students of design they were in the capital of the world. Gonzalez was raised by a single mom. She'd never been abroad before.
She aspired to create products for the home that are easy on the environment -- to make the world more beautiful than she found it.
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