Bastille Day Celebrated at the Organization of American States
On July 14, France’s national holiday known as Bastille Day, a reception took place at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington.
France, an OAS Observer State, invited its counterpart representations from North, Central, and South America to commemorate the occasion.
Jean-Claude Nolla, Ambassador of France to the OAS, offered remarks at the conference, alternating among English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. He touched upon the significance of the day as well as the broader historical ties remembered in 2014, a year marking the centennial of the beginning of World War I as well as the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings at Normandy.
"France will never forget the thousands of American soldiers who came to fight for freedom and for the French Republic, who left their parents, who left their brides... We will never forget the thousands and thousands among them who died for our freedom, for our values," he said.
Amb. Nolla also explained the historical connection between World War II and the defense forces it brought together from across the Western Hemisphere. "We have to remember they came from all over," he said, "to join the fight for liberty. Your organization is a witness... Most of [today’s] inter-American defense institutions are rooted in this mobilization."
He described the vibrant relations between France and American nations, noting the visits made in the past year by French President François Hollande to the Brazil, Mexico, and the United States, as well as those of Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Cuba and the United States.
An Observer State of the OAS since 1972, France conducts its diplomacy in the pan-American sphere by working to promote and defend the interests of its territories in the region, which include Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, and St. Pierre-et-Miquelon. France acts within organizations such as the OAS to defend universal values such as democracy promotion and protection of human rights throughout the Western Hemisphere.