I got up this morning ( and a beautiful morning it is too - the sky is clear and the sun is shining) and decided not to spoil this day, Bastille Day in France, by writing about the Front National.
If you are visiting from out of town check out this site to learn more about some of the festivities planned for the day (and night): The Fireman's Ball, the parade on the Champs-Elysées, and the fireworks.
Two of these events have a special meaning for my family. A long time ago my father-in-law, the Frenchling's grandfather, (now deceased) had the honor being the Fire Chief of Paris for a few years, just before he retired from his life-long career in the French Army. We still have a picture of him, looking splendid in his uniform, leading the firemen down the Champs-Elysées on another Bastille Day long ago.
I learned a great deal from my father-in-law. Not only about some of the more interesting happenings of the 20th century (World War II, Indochina and Algeria) but also how deeply and profoundly the French feel about their country. Listening to him, I saw that acknowledging the greatness of another country does not in any way call into question the greatness of my own. Love (or patriotism, if you prefer) is not diminished when it expands to encompass other people, other nations.
A very happy birthday to the French Republic!