This morning we had a brief ceremony to recognize and celebrate “Fête Nationale” or French National Day. It is the official national day of France. While it is also known as Bastille Day (anniversary of storming the Bastille in 1789), it actually celebrates the anniversary of the Fête de la Fédération that occurred on 14 July 1790 (one year after the storming of the Bastille).
The huge feast and official event celebrated the establishment of the short-lived constitutional monarchy in France and what many people at the time considered the conclusion of the French Revolution. The popular speaker at the event was none other than General Marquis de la Fayette. It was also attended by a delegation from the United States (can you name the Americans present?)
Why a “short-lived” constitutional monarchy? Ever hear of a little guy named Napoleon? By 1799 Napoleon seized control of the government and proceeded to take France and much of Europe on a wild ride until he was defeated at Waterloo in 1815. But enough history. . .
This morning’s ceremony featured the raising of the French flag over the ISAF Headquarters, a smart formation of French soldiers who sang a strong and soldierly rendition of the “La Marseillaise”, and a speech by a good friend and the ISAF Chief of Plans, Brigadier General Christophe de Saint Chamas, of the French Army.