Bastille Day, July 14, marks the day at the start of the French Revolution in 1789. Soon after, the French people gave the Marquis de Lafayette, who had helped the United States gain independence from Great Britain, the key to the Bastille as a gesture of good faith, entrusting him to protect France’s newly won liberties. Lafayette, a good friend of George Washington, sent Washington the key in 1790 on behalf of the French people, to solidify the two countries’ friendship.
As was to be expected, it was a marvelous party worthhy of commemorating the storming of the Bastille, a medieval fortress and political prison in the center of Paris which, in the eye of the revolutionaries, symbolized monachical tyranny. It was the flashpoint of the French Revolution.