Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Bastille Day!

I have always observed Bastille Day in a wide variety of ways.

Back in my radical days 1960's I used to have a huge back yard party around a punch bowl full of an elixir which I dubbed my Bastille Day Massacre. It was suitably named. this traditional observance lasted a few years until Trophy Wife put her foot down: it was always our furniture that was getting busted up.

Long story short, today I have less irreverent, more solemn feelings.

The French Embassy (somewhere) explains it thus:
Bastille Day, or the Fourteenth of July, is the symbol of the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the Republic. The national holiday is a time when all citizens celebrate their membership to a republican nation. It is because this national holiday is rooted in the history of the birth of the Republic that it has such great significance.

… The people of Paris rose up and decided to march on the Bastille, a state prison that symbolized the absolutism and arbitrariness of the Ancien Regime.

The storming of the Bastille, on July 14, 1789, immediately became a symbol of historical dimensions; it was proof that power no longer resided in the King or in God, but in the people, in accordance with the theories developed by the Philosophes of the 18th century.

On July 16, the King recognized the tricolor cockade: the Revolution had succeeded.

For all citizens of France, the storming of the Bastille symbolizes, liberty, democracy and the struggle against all forms of oppression.
To me, this grand anthem communicates a sense of arrival, of self-deliverance from the forces of tyranny. In a sense, in 2009, I feel I'm just short of such a destiny. Here, in America, I feel we are in a state of limbo. We have bit more of a path to navigate. We have walls which still have to be torn down.
Be that as it may, let's celebrate Bastille Day for its Audacity of Hope!
Joyeux Quatorze Juillet!

3 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Jack Jodell said...

Oui, mon ami! (That's all the French I know). We Americans should stage our own Bastille Day and march on Wall Street to voice our displeasure for their support for the exportation of American jobs and their anti-labor stances which have resulted in a freezing of American wages and the increasing enrichment of huge stockholders. Then we should march en masse on the corporate headquarters of all the major insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies as well as the headquarters and plants of the military/industrial complex. For we are in a stage IV of greedy corporate malignancy which is literally killing us. Bon revolucion!

7/14/2009 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Kentucky Rain said...

Well hell! I was going to write some stuff here but after reading Jack's finely crafted comment anything I say would be anti-climactic. So, that being said: I'm with Jack!!!!

7/15/2009 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Commander Zaius said...

Me too, Jack has said it all.

7/15/2009 04:48:00 PM  

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