For a few years following my arrival in Indiana, Bastille Day was wonderfully organized in Fortville and was very popular among the Hoosiers. After a short hiatus, the Bastille Day celebration will return this year!
Now, after five years in the United States, I can compare our two national day celebrations. After my first 4th of July, I was so impressed. I could see patriotism everywhere: on t-shirts, flags, music, decorations — I was overwhelmed at first because French people are not patriots in the same way. We don’t put flags anywhere (except maybe in a soccer match…Anywhere else would almost be tacky. Sometimes I would love French people to be more openly patriotic!), we don’t sing la Marseillaise with hand on heart, our veterans are not honored in the same compassionate way American people appreciate. But in some ways, our holidays are the same. People are so happy to be reunited, celebrating with all their heart, honoring an historic moment.
On the evening of July 14 last year in Nice, a terrorist attack killed 86 people and injured more than 400 others. It is awful to think that this day of joy and celebration could be now a day of deep mourning and horror. However, France will not be defined by this act of violence; we will continue to be as resilient as those we celebrate on Bastille Day.
I am also deeply confident in French people and our ability to get together again and again to celebrate our country and freedom, on Bastille Day and every other day.
Bon 14 Juillet, Happy Bastille Day!
By Adeline Le Floch Mezin, Festival Fund Review Committee Member