Bonne la Fête nationale/Bon le 14 juillet. (the national celebration/the 14th of July)

Or, Happy Bastille Day as the French holiday is known in English.

Sidione Sawyer, states, in a 2017 HuffPost article, for the French, July 14th is “not about the storming of the Bastille,” but rather the first, “Fête de la Fédération [1790] honoring the new French Republic.”.

Similar to the Canadian 1st of July/American 4th of July,  July 14th is a celebration of nationhood and patriotism and “national pride: the national blue-blanc-rouge (blue-white-red) flag and the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, [highlighting] French values of Liberté, Fratinité and Egalité. (Liberty, Fraternity,and Equality)” HuffPost

Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the [French] Revolution [5 May 1789 – 9 November 1799] profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies.Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history. wikipedia

Whether the assault was to free political prisoners or seize the guns and gunpowder stored there, storming the Bastille on July 14, 1789, is an early, symbolic event in the Revolution.

Some factiods concerning le 14 juillet:

  • The Chant du 14 juillet, written by Marie-Joseph Chénier and François Gossec, was sung in public schools up to WWII.
  • Jean Claude Jacob, a reportedly 120 year old peasant farmer from the Jura Mountains, played the “Dean of the Human Race” during the 1790 Fête de la Fédération (Festival of the Federation) in Paris.
  • The key to the Bastille was given to George Washington in 1790 by Lafayette* and is on display at Mount Vernon.
  • Over 20 cities in the US have Bastille Day celebrations.
  • More than 10 countries have celebrations on July 14.
  • One of Europe’s oldest  annual military parades is held today in Paris, along the Champs-Élysées.
  • The 2017 Bastille Day military parade, which he attended with President Macron of France, was the inspiration for President Trump’s addition of tanks to the 2019 Independence Day celebrations in Washington, DC.

Sadly:

  • In 2002, Maxime Brunerie attempted to shoot French President Jacques Chirac during the Champs-Élysées parade.
  • In 2009, Paris youths set fire to more than 300 cars.
  • In 2016, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove a truck into crowds, along the Promenade des Anglais, in Nice, France, killing 86 people and injuring 434 .

* “Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (6 September 1757 – 20 May 1834), known in the United States simply as Lafayette, was a French aristocrat and military officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War, commanding American troops in several battles, including the Siege of Yorktown. After returning to France, he was a key figure in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830.” Wikipedia 

image: Estampe de la Prise de la Bastille le 14 juillet 1789. Par H. Jannin, Musée de la Révolution française, Vizille.

In 1976, the group Rush released their take on Bastille Day.

There’s no bread, let them eat cake
There’s no end to what they’ll take
Flaunt the fruits of noble birth
Wash the salt into the earth

But they’re marching to Bastille Day
La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
Free the dungeons of the innocent
The king will kneel, and let his kingdom rise

Bloodstained velvet, dirty lace
Naked fear on every face
See them bow their heads to die
As we would bow as they rode by

But they’re marching to Bastille Day
La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
Sing, o choirs of cacophony
The king has kneeled, to let his kingdom rise

Lessons taught but never learned
All around us anger burns
Guide the future by the past
Long ago the mold was cast

For they marched up to Bastille Day
La guillotine claimed her bloody prize
Hear the echoes of the centuries
Power isn’t all that money buys

In honour of Bastille Day/le 14th juillet, and the release of the movie, Yesterday*

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright
You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re all doing what we can

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright, alright
You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You’d better free your mind instead

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright

* plot: “A struggling musician realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.” imdb.com