Today is the French National Day. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789 during the French revolution. We commonly think of it as Bastille Day. In France, it is celebrated with parades, patriotic speeches, and fireworks, not unlike our own Independence Day.
France and the United States have historic ties going back to our country's Revolutionary War when the Marquis de Lafayette, a French patriot, fought on the side of our fledgling country. It has sometimes been a prickly relationship but blood ties are strong. When the United States entered World War I on the side of France, a group of military officers with Gen. John Pershing visited the tomb of Lafayette where one of the officers - some reports say Pershing, some say one of his aides - uttered the phrase, "Lafayette, we are here!" implying that they had come to repay a debt of honor.
On this French National Day, we remember again that debt and we wish our French friends and their new government well during this difficult time as they work to reverse the economic troubles of the European Union. Vive la France!
Lafayette, we remember.