Bastille Day commemorates the initial uprising on July 14th 1789, of the French people against the monarchy that had oppressed them for centuries. The parallels between the French & American revolutions are a testament to the common history of our two countries.

A few examples:

• The Founding Fathers' Declaration of Independence was inspired by France's Declaration des Droits de l' Homme, penned almost entirely by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

• Both the US and France are technically defined as a Republic.

• The Marquis de Lafayette came to the aid of the colonists rebelling against the British at a crucial time during the fighting when the colonies were in dire need of troops and supplies.

• Our two countries embarked upon a diplomatic relationship under Lafayette & Benjamin Franklin that continues to flourish.

In modern France, Bastille Day, much like our July 4th, is a fête du people, a celebration for the people. Towns and cities across France organize community events, the highlight of which is le bal des pompiers, or Fireman's Ball. It is a festive occasion enjoyed by one and all.