Bastille Day, July 14, is the French National Day. Formally called La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration), it commemorates the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789.
For Ruth and I, it is an easy date to remember, as it is our wedding anniversary, and it is primarily a day of celebration.
Now, thanks to a terrorist attack in Nice, we have been given another reason to remember July 14.
Only eight months ago I wrote about The Year Terror Came to Paris, and now I find myself writing about another atrocity in France, on Bastille Day.
Ruth and I have just returned from France where it seemed that the people were starting to get back to some normality. Certainly, there was a heightened security presence, but President Hollande was about to lift the State of Emergency.
There was no hint of what was about to unfold in Nice.
On the morning of July 14, Australian and New Zealand troops led the Bastille Day Parade in Paris, to commemorate one hundred years since the Battle of the Somme.
In the evening, what was supposed to be a day of celebration turned into a night of carnage when a truck driver drove into a crowd in the resort town of Nice, leaving 84 dead and many more injured.
On Friday morning of July 15, the French found themselves waking up to the news of another horrific episode of mindless killing.
Now, as in 1916, Australia stands in solidarity with the people of France against this new adversity.
Australian landmarks have been bathed in the Tricolore as Australians across the country mourn the victims of yet another terrorist attack.
Hundreds gathered at Sydney’s Circular Quay in an evening candlelight vigil to remember those injured or killed.
“They can kill our people, but they can never kill our values … terror will never win over France,” said one French expat.
Ruth and I have walked along the beautiful Promenade des Anglais in Nice many times. Our memories of those occasions are now marred by the events of July 14, 2016. Certainly, our future wedding anniversaries will have a somber touch.
But, let’s hope that Nice does not become the “New Normal”.