(CNN) -- "Thank you," said the man. I was standing outside of the offices of Charlie Hebdo covering the aftermath of the terrorist attacks for CNN. He was thanking me just for being here, just for covering the event and its aftermath, what Le Monde referred to as France's September 11. And his appreciation was echoed by French citizen after French citizen.
The rally Sunday for unity drew 1.5 million people in Paris and more than twice that nationwide; it was like nothing I've ever seen or covered. Our nation's oldest ally stood firm. A young Muslim Frenchwoman held a sign saying "Je suis Juif."