Jul 14, 2018: Bastille Day now a day of both celebration and mourning
FRANCE - President Emmanuel Macron takes the salute at the Bastille Day parade in Paris as the country celebrates its national day, which is now also a day of mourning. The parade is likely to be watched from the White House in Washington DC with envious eyes.
Throughout France, Bastille Day is celebrated with parades, fireworks and parties.
In Paris Alphajet aircraft from the French elite acrobatic flying team, Patrouille de France, will fly over the city, and marchers and weaponry will stream down the Champs Elysées to Place de la Concorde. Given the security concerns of recent years, the police presence will be ubiquitous.
The terror attack in Nice that killed some 86 people on Bastille Day 2016 means some part of the day will be carved out for memorial events. There were no Bastille Day fireworks along the beach promenade in Nice in 2017, and a Mass and a memorial were held to mark the tragedy. The president attended in 2017, and might be seen again in Nice for the 2018 remembrance.
Donald Trump was Macron’s guest of honor at the 2017 Bastille Day parade. The United States President was reported to be so dazzled by the spectacle that he returned to the White House with a demand for a grand military parade through the nation’s capital. After advisors pointed out the astronomical cost and logistical hurdles of staging a military parade through the city, the subject was dropped. The 2018 Bastille Day spectacle can be counted on to revive memories of the debate about a U.S. version, and possibly set in motion plans for a manageable version.
Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on Jul 14, 1789, and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the absolute power of the Louis XVI regime, so the attack on the prison was a sign of freedom and the fight against oppression for all French citizens. Bastille Day was declared the French national holiday when the new Republic was established on Jul 6, 1880.