Note to Self (33) Happy Bastille Day!

So today is July 14. I’ve celebrated July 4 since I moved to New York, but I’ve celebrated July 14 since I was a child. I remember getting up early on that holiday to watch documentaries on the French military, including the Foreign Legion, and was even a little obsessed with joining the army until I turned 21. I remember being in Paris on July 14 and watching the parade of tanks and army troops on the Champs Elysees. It was so nice. Jacques Chirac was President at the time.

I still sing my national anthem, as a memory and tribute to my origins. France is, after all, the place where I grew up and became an adult, so as much as I hate it now, I still love it too. I wish France was a better country so I could be proud of it. It makes me sad when French people behave like jerks.

My father taught me the old values of being French. Honor, culture, discipline, art. To this day, I thank him for being there for me like he did. Despite our differences, he’s the first man in my life. I also want to thank my mother for giving me the German pride. It’s a more discreet, less arrogant pride, but it is there, buried in the marrow of my bones.

I tend to think that I represent the best of both worlds, or the worst, depending on how you look at it. I’m deeply European nonetheless, and belong to a continent which history is older and richer, and where war for our people was a reality until not so long ago. I love the US for its youth, but I miss Europe for its wisdom.

On that note, let me write down the first verse of the Marseillaise. Happy July 14th!

Allons, enfants de Patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrive;
Contre nous de la tyranne,
L’etendard sanglant est leve,
L’etendard sanglant est leve,
Entendez vous, dans les campagnes,
Mugir ces feroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras,
Egorger nos fils, nos compagnes.

Aux armes, citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons!
Marchons, marchons!
Qu’un sang impur abreuve nos sillons!

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