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Quatorze Juillet - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
Quatorze Juillet
I forgot that yesterday was Bastille Day, so instead I celebrated it today. Well... "celebrated" would be a strong word, but I acknowledged it today. (Tomorrow we are planning on going out for crepes at lunch at work, so we will have an even more belated but better celebration then.) I'm not French, but I still think Bastille Day is a cool holiday; I like France.

Today I noticed that Casablanca had shown up on my ReplayTV, so I fast-forwarded it to the La Marseillaise -- by far my favorite part of the movie. Reproduced here in case anybody doesn't remember it.

Music stirs me in fascinating ways. It can often tug at my emotions far better than words or pictures. But more than that, watching music evoke feelings in other people moves me just as much. This scene, with all the displaced French singing the song of their homeland to drown out the Germans, always tears me up a little. The pride and determination voiced with song -- even if it is just a movie, it still echoes of truth.

I felt a similar stirring of emotion here in my own country, back on 9-11-2001. I remember vividly seeing on television that night the US congress, standing on the white house steps, singing God Bless America. With all the insanity that has happened since, it somewhat belittles that moment. But watching those men and women -- not politicians but people -- horrified and helpless in the face of a national tragedy, standing there singing "...my home sweet home". All differences put aside, representatives of both parties shoulder to shoulder, all grieving but expressing love for the country that they had chosen to serve. It awed me.

It still does, because that is the way I think we as human beings ought to be. Shoulder to shoulder, supporting one another through life, even when our views may differ. Sometimes it seems to me that words like honor, dignity, integrity, pride, discipline, don't mean much any longer, that they aren't values that people strive for. But I think they should be; I think that passion is about more than bedroom games.

Somebody once asked me if I was patriotic. That's almost an insult or an embarrassment these days, but I said Yes. My country is like my family: I don't always approve of what my family may do, but they are my family and I love my family. I don't like everything the people in my country choose to do, but I love my country nonetheless.

So this got a little off-topic. I can be very idealistic at times. I'll step down from my soapbox now.

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encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: July 15th, 2007 11:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I celebrated a fête nationale last night by volunteering at the annual bastille day celebration organized by the Alliance Francaise du Austin held at the French Legation Museum in Austin (France was the first country to recognize the Republic of Texas as a country)
http://www.afaustin.org/events.html ( the fifth year in a row I've been there).

Here's link to my favorite version of La Marseilaise
The bloodiest national anthem I know, here's the chorus:
To arms citizens
Form your battalions
March, march
Let impure blood
Water our furrows
delosd From: delosd Date: July 16th, 2007 12:01 am (UTC) (Link)
It does seem that patriotism is seen to be somewhat "passe" these days. And yet, I've always maintained a love for this country, which has only grown as I have seen and learned more about it. The beauty and majesty of the land itself, the amazing places and natural wonders, from Manhatten to the Grand Canyon, from the Monuments of Washington D.C. to the stone rings of Arches National Park, it conjures up an unending sense of wonder.

But the United States is not just a place, it's also, more than any other country in the world, a thought, and philosophy, an ideal. A concept that was unprecendented at the birth of this nation, and remains rare and wondrous even today. "Dedicated to the concept that all men are created equal." It sometimes worries me that I feel like I can not even say something like that without the seemingly obligatory caveat of "Of course, we haven't always lived up to that ideal..." Why does that seem so automatic today? Of course we haven't, the inhabitants of this country are only human, after all. We make mistakes, individually and as a nation, but this nation, more than any other, is in a constant search for those mistakes and bears a willingness to correct them.

Those are a very few of the things that *I* love about this country. While I have no doubt that you and I would disagree on some of those things "the people in my country choose to do", still I know that we both come from a place of caring and respect for this nation, and I'm sure we could find middle ground on many things. Why is it today that so many people, especially those in government, can not?

(Here, please take your soapbox back. I think I dented it a bit...)
delosd From: delosd Date: July 16th, 2007 12:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I guess I'll talk about music another time... :)
jebra From: jebra Date: July 16th, 2007 12:26 am (UTC) (Link)
An old friend, who is a one-time US expat who worked in a chain of French hotels, had a Bastille Day party yesterday. He'd invited me to come, but, alas, the party was in Chicago and I was in Roscommon County. Next year, perhaps.

"La vie," he said.

marsgov From: marsgov Date: July 16th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I celebrate Bastille Day every year.

I managed to incorporate Bastille Day into my Sabbath celebration. I made a special trip (on Friday, of course) to get a bottle of French wine; I used the tune of La Marseillaise for part of the Sabbath meal's liturgy.

Bastille Day remains, perhaps, an even greater achievement than the US Declaration of Independence. The French were not in some far-away colony agitating for full civil rights; they transformed themselves in their own homeland from subjects to citizens.

At the same time, Bastille Day reminds me of everything that could have gone wrong with the US revolution if the Founding Fathers had not been so brilliant and lucky.

Never let anyone make you ashamed of your patriotism. Pity them for their ignorance, or scorn them for their destructiveness, but do not let them dictate your conscience.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: July 16th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
There is nothing wrong with enlightend patriotism.
marsgov From: marsgov Date: July 16th, 2007 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)

And Bernard Fall Said

In his book Hell In a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu, the unforgettable Bernard Fall included the following epigraph:
When a nation re-awakens, its finest sons are prepared to give their lives for its liberation. When Empires are threatened with collapse, they are prepared to sacrifice their non-commissioned officers.
The quote is from Menachem Begin, in his book The Revolt, who was of course an expert on subject. (And a very pleasant individual, whom I had the privilege to meet, however briefly.)

Apparently, today, the US is not prepared to sacrifice even its non-commissioned officers; a very scary thought indeed, one that gives me pause from time to time.
From: caneprints Date: July 16th, 2007 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that scene of them singing the national anthem on 9/11 is one of the many things on that day that will be imprinted in my memory forever. I also am amazed at how different music can affect your mood. Your post made me ask myself why certain people like certain types of music? Even though I grew up listening to people like Carole King, James Taylor, and whatever else was popular in the 70s, I find that I have since developed a wide variety of musical tastes for things like jazz, reggae, country and other types of music.
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