On Friday, per a report by the BBC, the Spanish government bestowed its highest civil merit award — the Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit — upon Ignacio Echeverria, the skateboarder who died while using his skateboard to protect a woman from terrorist attackers during the recent attack on London.
As GrindTV reported, 39-year-old Echeverria was returning to his home on Saturday when he saw the attacks on London Bridge unfolding. According to the Telegraph, Echeverria witnessed one of the three terrorist attackers stabbing a defenseless woman and ran to her aid, using his skateboard as a weapon against the terrorists. He was subsequently murdered in his attempt to help the woman.
As reported by the Associated Press, Spanish officials approved granting Echeverria the Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit during a weekly cabinet meeting headed by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Friday.
Speaking on the decision to honor Echeverria, the AP reports, Spanish minister of culture and education Inigo Mendez de Vigo said the slain skateboarding enthusiast was “a good man, an exemplary citizen who showed heroic behavior by trying to save a young woman on that tragic night.”
Initially following his death, as reported by the Telegraph, the Spanish government released a statement saying, “The exemplary attitude shown by Ignacio Echeverría during the attacks is a demonstration of solidarity for all to see. His bravery in defending a helpless person serves as a reminder of the need to remain united before the scourge of terrorism, facing up to those whose only language is one of violence and terror.”
Then, on Thursday, in his hometown of Las Rozas just outside of Madrid, thousands gathered at a vigil to pay tribute to Echeverria’s heroism, with many of the gatherers proudly raising their skateboards in the air out of respect for the “skateboard hero.”
The thoughts of the entire skateboarding community were perhaps best summarized in the obituary posted by TRANSWORLD SKATEBOARDING following the news of Echeverria’s death.
“Skateboarder or not, we have nothing but respect for his courage and will to drop everything and fearlessly fight for what was right,” TRANSWORLD SKATEBOARDING wrote. “Never forget, ‘The great Spaniard with the skateboard.'”
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