Bastille Day!

Bastille Day!

Photo credit: Janet Donovan 

“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 Philippe Etienne

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.”

Nadia Murad

“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.”

Ambassador Etienne & Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs

“As a new ambassador I will endeavor to develop our very strong mutually beneficial ties. The United States is the largest investor in France. At the same time France is one of the fifth five largest investors of the United States. French employ nearly 700,000 people in the United States. France is the third largest foreign source of jobs in the United States. Conversely, American firms employ nearly 500,000 people in France. Since the election of President Macron, France has become increasingly attractive to investors and it now ranks fifth worldwide and second in the European label. Paris became the second most popular city in the world for investment. All this shows the bold reforms taken by a country.”

Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President & Tony Powell

“At a cultural, educational and academic level, it’s a great honor for us to work on a daily basis with some of the world’s most prestigious institutions – many representatives which are here with us this evening. I am thinking about the special relationship developed by the French Commission for Alternative Energies and the US Department of Energy and about the collaboration between the French Space Agency and NASA. The Insight Project is now enabling us to gather data on the internal structure of Mars and the collaborative LIGO/Virgo program to detect gravitational waves. Our scientific partnership also covers Artificial Intelligence, ocean observation, biodiversity.”

John and JoAnn Mason with John Arundel

“What better way to show, to come to celebrate these shared ideals than Bastille Day,” Etienne added. “On July 14, 2017, President Macron invited President Trump and paid tribute to a friendship that stands the test of time. This year, we chose to honor the military co-operations with our European neighbors. Formed in June 2018, a group of nine European countries aimed to strengthen Europe in defense for the benefit also of the TransAtlantic Alliance. Before wrapping up, I have to briefly mention the next G7 Summit, which will be held in Paris next month. President Macron wanted to give our presidency a major priority to fight against ecology in all its aspects. Indeed, the G7 presidency is a useful tool and G7 work together for defending the values we believe in. I am delighted that our presidency will be followed by the American presidency, and I am very happy about the excellent cooperation between our two countries in the preparation of this summit.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, in keeping with our unique identities driven by our faith in humanity and in progress, I know that we will continue to stand together, side by side, promoting the values we cherish – peace, freedom, democracy. The Fourth of July, July 14th, are two national holidays of two countries that serve the same universal ideal.”

“So, before giving the floor to our wonderful choir, which will interpret our national anthems, and before we hear also Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the anthem of the European Union, the symbol of our European ambitions, I can say with great conviction: Vive les États-Unis d’Amérique, Vive La France and long live French-American friendship.”