Monday, July 14, 2014

International Independence Days

By Sarah Oldham, Volunteer Contributor

America's Independence Day is celebrated across the country on July 4th and our very own chapter here in the region is involved in supporting DC's spectacular celebration. On the heels of our country's celebration is another country's special day to honor and recognize independence - La Fete Nationale Francaise.

This day is celebrated on July 14th and is also known as Bastille Day. It marks a crucial point in history for the nation of France. The Bastille was a prison used primarily to house political prisoners in the 17th and 18th centuries and symbolized King Louis XVI's absolute power. In an act of uprising, the Bastille was attacked and captured by a large crowd of citizens on that fateful July 14th day in 1789, ushering in a new feeling of freedom and forever changing France's government from a monarchy to a republic. 

Years later, the French Red Cross would be founded and become involved in supporting the country during times of conflict. It was involved in the liberation of Paris in August of 1944 when emergency squads aided the injured that were spotted in the streets and on the rooftops of buildings. It was also during this time that the nurses of the French Red Cross began to play a prime role during the war. 

Today, the French Red Cross partners with other national societies, like the American Red Cross, to respond to international disasters like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami that struck India in 2004. 

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