As Belgium remembers attacks, survivor reflects: "What if?"

BRUSSELS, March 22 (Reuters) - Belgium marked the first anniversary of bomb attacks that killed 32 people with remembrance ceremonies, a new memorial and poignant reflections from those who lost partners but survived.

"Many times I ask myself 'What if?'" said German Lars Waetzmann, who lost his wife Jennifer when two young Belgian Muslims blew themselves up with suitcase bombs in the departure hall of Brussels airport a year ago. The couple had been about to fly to New York.

"What if we had left 10 minutes later? What if we had driven a bit slower? What if? But it happened," he said, before recounting how a stranger had laid a jacket under his head and stayed by his side.

36 PHOTOS
Brussels attacks -- one year anniversary
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Brussels attacks -- one year anniversary
People take part in a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange, La Bourse, as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
A woman pays her respects at a memorial near the European Union institutions as the country marks the first anniversary of the twin Brussels attacks by Islamic extremists on March 22, 2017. Belgium marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State bombings in Brussels, one at the airport and the other in the metro, in which 32 people were killed and more than 320 wounded with ceremonies showing that the heart of Europe stands defiant. / AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
People take part in a march in the Brussels district of Molenbeek as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
People take part in a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange, La Bourse, as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People make hearts with their fingers during a ceremony outside the Bourse, commemorating the first anniversary of the bomb attacks in Brussels metro and the Belgian international airport of Zaventem, in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
People take part in a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange, La Bourse, as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
People take part in a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange, La Bourse, as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
People take part in a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange, La Bourse, as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
A woman carries a flower during a commemorative march as Belgium marks the first anniversary of the twin Brussels attacks by Islamic extremists on March 22, 2017 at La Bourse in Brussels. Belgium marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State bombings in Brussels, one at the airport and the other in the metro, in which 32 people were killed and more than 320 wounded with ceremonies showing that the heart of Europe stands defiant. / AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
People make hearts with their fingers during a ceremony outside the Bourse, commemorating the first anniversary of the bomb attacks in Brussels metro and the Belgian international airport of Zaventem, in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22: Survivors and relatives of those killed in last years terror attacks in Brussels gather to mark 12 months since bombs took the lives of 32 people and injured more than 300, in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2017. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People take part in a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
(From L) Vice-Prime Minister and Interior Minister Jan Jambon, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, Chamber chairman N-VA's Siegfried Bracke, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, King Philippe of Belgium, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and Senate chairwoman Christine Defraigne attend the inauguration of a steel memorial at the heart of the European Union institutions based in Brussels as the country marks the first anniversary of the twin Brussels attacks by Islamic extremists on March 22, 2017. Belgium marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State bombings in Brussels, one at the airport and the other in the metro, in which 32 people were killed and more than 320 wounded with ceremonies showing that the heart of Europe stands defiant. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Didier Lebrun (Photo credit should read DIDIER LEBRUN/AFP/Getty Images)
People take part in a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
People make hearts with their fingers during a ceremony outside the Bourse, commemorating the first anniversary of the bomb attacks in Brussels metro and the Belgian international airport of Zaventem, in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
People take part in a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People gather to pay tribute to the victims of last year's terrorist attacks at the 'Bourse - Beurs' stock market square in the centre of Brussels, on the first anniversary of the twin Brussels attacks by Islamic extremists on March 22, 2017. Belgium marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State bombings in Brussels, one at the airport and the other in the metro, in which 32 people were killed and more than 320 wounded with ceremonies showing that the heart of Europe stands defiant. / AFP PHOTO / BELGA / NICOLAS LAMBERT / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read NICOLAS LAMBERT/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman cries during a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
People take part in a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
People take part in a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
People make hearts with their fingers during a ceremony outside the Bourse, commemorating the first anniversary of the bomb attacks in Brussels metro and the Belgian international airport of Zaventem, in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Belgium's King Philippe and Queen Mathilde attend a ceremony at the Maelbeek metrostation commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Didier Lebrun TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People take part in a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Belgium's King Philippe, Queen Mathilde and Prime Minister Charles Michel attend a ceremony at the Maelbeek metrostation commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Didier Lebrun/Pool
People take part in a march in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
People take part in a march in the Brussels district of Molenbeek as part of ceremonies commemorating the first anniversary of twin attacks at Brussels airport and a metro train, Belgium, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22: Survivors and relatives of those killed in last years terror attacks in Brussels gather to mark 12 months since bombs took the lives of 32 people and injured more than 300, in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2017. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People gesture during a moment of silence following a commemorative march at La Bourse in Brussels on March 22, 2017 as Belgium marks the first anniversary of the twin Brussels attacks by Islamic extremists. Belgium marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State bombings in Brussels, one at the airport and the other in the metro, in which 32 people were killed and more than 320 wounded with ceremonies showing that the heart of Europe stands defiant. / AFP PHOTO / BELGA / THIERRY ROGE / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read THIERRY ROGE/AFP/Getty Images)
Brussels region Minister-President Rudi Vervoort (L), Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (C) and Brussels City mayor Yvan Mayeur unveil a steel memorial at the heart of the European Union institutions based in Brussels as the country marks the first anniversary of the twin Brussels attacks by Islamic extremists on March 22, 2017. Belgium marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State bombings in Brussels, one at the airport and the other in the metro, in which 32 people were killed and more than 320 wounded with ceremonies showing that the heart of Europe stands defiant. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Didier Lebrun (Photo credit should read DIDIER LEBRUN/AFP/Getty Images)
An injured policeman attends the inauguration of a steel memorial at the heart of the European Union institutions based in Brussels as the country marks the first anniversary of the twin Brussels attacks by Islamic extremists on March 22, 2017. Belgium marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State bombings in Brussels, one at the airport and the other in the metro, in which 32 people were killed and more than 320 wounded with ceremonies showing that the heart of Europe stands defiant. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Didier Lebrun (Photo credit should read DIDIER LEBRUN/AFP/Getty Images)
Wreaths are laid during the inauguration of a steel memorial by Belgian sculptor Jean-Henri Compere at the heart of the European Union institutions based in Brussels as the country marks the first anniversary of the twin Brussels attacks by Islamic extremists on March 22, 2017. Belgium marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State bombings in Brussels, one at the airport and the other in the metro, in which 32 people were killed and more than 320 wounded with ceremonies showing that the heart of Europe stands defiant. / AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A couple stands in front of a remembrance wall on March 22, 2017 at the Maelbeek - Maalbeek subway station in Brussels, during the commemorations marking the first anniversary of the twin Brussels attacks by Islamic extremists. Belgium marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State bombings in Brussels, one at the airport and the other in the metro, in which 32 people were killed and more than 320 wounded with ceremonies showing that the heart of Europe stands defiant. / AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman and child watch as people take part in a commemorative march as Belgium marks the first anniversary of the twin Brussels attacks by Islamic extremists on March 22, 2017 in Brussels. Belgium marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State bombings in Brussels, one at the airport and the other in the metro, in which 32 people were killed and more than 320 wounded with ceremonies showing that the heart of Europe stands defiant. / AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Brussels' most famous landmark -- the Manneken Pis statue of a little boy -- is dressed up in a fireman's outfit to hail the efforts of rescue services as Belgium commemorates the victims of last year's terrorist attacks on March 22, 2017. Belgium marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State bombings in Brussels, one at the airport and the other in the metro, in which 32 people were killed and more than 320 wounded with ceremonies showing that the heart of Europe stands defiant. / AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman pays her respects at a memorial near the European Union institutions as the country marks the first anniversary of the twin Brussels attacks by Islamic extremists on March 22, 2017. Belgium marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State bombings in Brussels, one at the airport and the other in the metro, in which 32 people were killed and more than 320 wounded with ceremonies showing that the heart of Europe stands defiant. / AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
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"It shows that next to horrible things that happened that day, beautiful things can happen."

Waetzmann was speaking at a ceremony where the king and queen, government ministers, airport and rescue staff listened to a roll call of the 16 victims who died at the airport. Belgian Eddy Van Calster, who lost his wife Fabienne Vansteenkiste, an airport worker, sang a song he wrote for her, called "Stars."

A minute of silence was held at 7:58 a.m. to mark the time when two young Belgian Muslims blew themselves up with suitcase bombs in the cause of Islamic State.

A bronze abstract sculpture which previously sat near the check-in desks was unveiled in a new site by the approach road to the terminal. It still bears marks from the explosions, which were carried out by individuals linked to Brussels-based militants who had killed 130 people in Paris four months earlier.

Just after 9 a.m., around the time a third bomber detonated his bag on a train, the king laid a wreath at Maelbeek metro station beside a commemorative wall covered in graffiti left by passers-by in the days after March 22: "Tous ensemble" (All together) read the most prominent message above a red heart.

Kristen Verellen, who lost her husband Johan Van Steen, read a poem: "March 22 - it's also my birthday - at first sight not a cause for celebration; and yet still love triumphs."

35 PHOTOS
Brussels Attacks: Explosions at airport, Maelbeek metro station
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Brussels Attacks: Explosions at airport, Maelbeek metro station
People are evacuated from Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016. after at least 13 people have been killed by two explosions in the departure hall of Brussels Airport. / AFP / Belga / VIRGINIE LEFOUR / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read VIRGINIE LEFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
#BREAKING: Two loud explosions at #Zaventem airport in #Brussels https://t.co/JFw9RGLjnh
This video footage captures the aftermath of the explosions at Zaventem airport, #Brussels https://t.co/wcsNygh91Y
Brussels aftermath video shows survivors huddled together, telling one another: "It's okay". https://t.co/3Y7lEXrrjP https://t.co/KdqFXR9Wft
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22: Passengers are evacuated from Zaventem Bruxelles International Airport after a terrorist attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 13 people are though to have been killed after Brussels airport was hit by two explosions whilst a Metro station was also targeted. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)
A private security guard helps a wounded women outside the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels on March 21, 2016 after a blast at this station located near the EU institutions. Belgian firefighters said at least 26 people had died after 'enormous' blasts rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station today, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. / AFP / Michael VILLA (Photo credit should read MICHAEL VILLA/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on March 22, 2016 shows a Belgian police vehicle driving past passengers who are evacuating the Brussels Airport of Zaventem. At least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport on March 22, 2016, Belgian media quoted the federal prosecutor as saying. Officials were not immediately available to confirm the figure when contacted by AFP. The federal police earlier confirmed one death. / AFP / Belga / Jonas Roosens / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read JONAS ROOSENS/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on March 22, 2016 shows a Belgian police vehicle driving past passengers who are evacuating the Brussels Airport of Zaventem. At least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport on March 22, 2016, Belgian media quoted the federal prosecutor as saying. Officials were not immediately available to confirm the figure when contacted by AFP. The federal police earlier confirmed one death. / AFP / Belga / Jonas Roosens / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read JONAS ROOSENS/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on March 22, 2016 shows smoke rising from the Maalbeek underground, in Brussels, following a blast at the station close to the capital's European quarter. The Brussels metro service was being shut down on March 22, its operator said. The measure came after a rush-hour explosion at Maalbeek station with TV images showing black smoke pouring from the station entrance. / AFP / Belga / Seppe KNAPEN / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read SEPPE KNAPEN/AFP/Getty Images)
A security perimeter has been set, on March 22, 2016 near Maalbeek metro station in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22: Broken glass and blood is seen beside signage outside an entrance to Maelbeek metro station following todays attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 34 people are thought to have been killed after Brussels airport and a Metro station were targeted by explosions. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22: Broken glass is seen outside an entrance to Maelbeek metro station following todays attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 34 people are thought to have been killed after Brussels airport and a Metro station were targeted by explosions. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Policemen stand guard at the entrance of a security perimeter set near Maalbeek metro station, on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue teams evacuate wounded people outside the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels on March 22, 2016 after a blast at this station located near the EU institutions. Belgian firefighters said at least 26 people had died after 'enormous' blasts rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station today, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. / AFP / - (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers evacuated after blast at #Maalbeek metro station in #Brussels via @EurActiv https://t.co/O3W8C2rpPm https://t.co/XmIoeKfE9F
People are evacuated from Brussels airport in Zaventem on March 22, 2016 following twin blasts. A string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station, killing at least 21 people in apparently coordinated attacks, officials said. == BELGIUM OUT == / AFP / Belga / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
A man with blood stains on his sweater leaves Brussels airport in Zaventem on March 22, 2016 following twin blasts. A string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station, killing at least 21 people in apparently coordinated attacks, officials said. == BELGIUM OUT == / AFP / Belga / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
Amateur footage shows scene at #Brussels airport after explosions (video: Bart van Meele) https://t.co/v29k9dvMiM
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS / AFP / JOHN THYS (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
A victim receives first aid by rescuers, on March 22, 2016 near Maalbeek metro station in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A victim receives first aid by rescuers, on March 22, 2016 near Maalbeek metro station in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22 : Police officers stand guard around the Zaventem Airport after two explosions went off in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22 : Police officers stand guard around the Zaventem Airport after two explosions went off in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Passengers are gathered, on March 22, 2016 near Brussels airport in Zaventem, following its evacuation after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS / AFP / JOHN THYS (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22 : Police officers stand guard around the Zaventem Airport after two explosions went off in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Firefighters arrive at a security perimeter set in the Rue de la Loi near the Maalbeek subway station, in Brussels, on March 22, 2016, after an explosion killed around 10 people, according to spokesman of Brussels' fire brigade A string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station on Tuesday, killing at least 13 people, according to media reports, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. / AFP / Belga / LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers who were evacuated from the airport wait in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016, after a string of explosions rocked Brussels airport of Zaventem and a city metro station, killing at least 13 people, according to media reports, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. / AFP / Belga / SEPPE KNAPEN / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read SEPPE KNAPEN/AFP/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22 : Police officers stand guard around the Zaventem Airport after two explosions went off in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People are evacuated from Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016. after at least 13 people have been killed by two explosions in the departure hall of Brussels Airport. / AFP / Belga / VIRGINIE LEFOUR / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read VIRGINIE LEFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers gather, on March 22, 2016 near Brussels airport in Zaventem , following its evacuation after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS / AFP / JOHN THYS (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers leave with their luggages, on March 22, 2016 near Brussels airport in Zaventem , following its evacuation after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS / AFP / JOHN THYS (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22 : Police officers stand guard around the Zaventem Airport after two explosions went off in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A photo taken on March 22, 2016 shows Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, after two explosions rocked the main hall of the airport. At least 13 people have been killed after two explosions occured in the departure hall of Brussels Airport. Government sources speak of a terrorist attack. The terrorist threat level has been heightened to four across the country. / AFP / BELGA / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
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A monument to all the victims was inaugurated close to the headquarters of the European Union, where staff observed a minute's silence. EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker said the attacks "struck at the very heart of Europe" but had failed to undermine Europeans' faith in democratic freedoms.

King Philippe, who was present at all the ceremonies, addressed the families of victims: "To hate and to violence, you responded with dignity."

Prime Minister Charles Michel told Reuters in an interview that the Belgian state, which was criticized in France and elsewhere for failing to monitor large numbers of its citizens returning from fighting in Syria, had learned lessons and made reforms in security and intelligence.

"Belgium is on a sounder footing in security terms than it was a year ago," he said. "But even today I can't say there is zero risk. We know that whatever we do, when people are ready to kill themselves and blindly destroy as many lives as possible, we cannot have perfect security."

(Writing by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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