Photo by Janet Donovan
Ambassador Philippe Etienne
Ambassador Philippe Etienne

“Dear friends, I’m very happy to see so many of you here and I am delighted to be with you today to celebrate Bastille Day,” said Philippe Etienne, the newly appointed Ambassador of France. “As you know, July 14 is associated with the storming of the Bastille in 1789, but when it was declared a national holiday in 1880, the South Republic chose to officially retain the date of July 14th, 1790, the date of the Fête de la Fédération. However, in reality, we French celebrate these full symbolic dates in our history which we associate with the Republic and with its three core values  – freedom, equality, fraternity.”

 

Ambassador Etienne went on the remind us of the great friendship between France and the US. “The meeting between our two Presidents with so many veterans in Normandy on this June 6th served as a powerful reminder of the unwavering friendship and I would like here to pay tribute to our soldiers, fighting side by side to protect our people. I also want to say how deeply touched we were in France by the incredible solidarity that was demonstrated following the tragic fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame.”

“On my right is a portrait of Lafayette,” he noted, “the most American of Frenchmen who described himself as the son of the United States. During this great American adventure, he became a close friend of George Washington. There are different ways to fight for our values. Here is with us tonight Nadia Murad who won the 2018 Noble Peace Price for her efforts to combat sexual violence in armed conflict. I pay tribute to your efforts. Thanks to your commitment the darkness of the world is fading and giving way to good.”