I’ve called three countries home in my lifetime: the United States, France and the United Kingdom. All three have had struggles with terrorism. In different ways, and for different reasons, but we have struggled nonetheless.
France’s friends and allies in Britain and the US stand with her now, as she and the US stood with Britain in 2005, and as she and Britain stood with the US in 2001. I stand with my good friends and colleagues in Paris, not just today or this week or this month–I stand with them just as I stand with my close friends in London and in America, and just as they stand with us.
Hollande speaks for France, Obama speaks for America, and Elizabeth speaks for Britain, but far more important than the heads of state are the citizens, speaking, sharing, comforting… British, French and American, standing together.
We do this not because of what happened on Friday in Paris, or what happened ten years ago in London, or what happened fourteen years ago in New York–we stand together during the good and the bad, because we are diverse people from diverse places with diverse beliefs who want the same things. We want to be happy, to be safe, to celebrate life, to challenge beliefs, to pursue dreams, and celebrate victories. And when life deals us a blow, we stand together then too.
Let us not forget this: when the pundits finish speaking and the politicians move on and life slowly returns to normal, we will look around and see that we are all still standing together.
At mundane times, thrilling times, tense times, and indeed in these critical hours and days ahead, look around and you will find Britons, Frenchmen and Americans standing together, for the Special Relationship, the Entente Cordiale, and the special bond between France and America that started when America was merely two years old all run much deeper than politics and statesmanship.
John-Paul is a good friend of mine. Born in the United States, he lived in Paris before moving to London. In the aftermath of the terror attacks on Paris, he has graciously allowed me to share his words here.0
Nancy Sutton says
Amidst the incredulity, horror and grief, in this so most beautiful of cities, I felt a sick echo. The terrorists ‘know’ that ‘Westerners’ are ‘subhuman’… and therefore they can (indeed, should) be killed with a free conscience.
Any of us who knows any history knows that this ‘demonization and dehumanizing’ of a group has been repeated over and over again, by all sides, in humanity’s past. I pray that we learn that we, none one of us, cannot do this anymore… anywhere… anytime. As I pray that the departed are praying for us to succeed in this effort.
Laura ~ Raise Your Garden says
A lovely and memorable tribute as we all scratch our heads and try to figure out why bad things like this happen. I think I know why……but still making sense of it all. Praying and hoping that this isn’t the new norm in the world and that we find out that we truly do have more in common than not despite oceans, languages and customs dividing us.
Christina @ My Homespun Home says
A beautiful sentiment. It was a strange weekend–I had a French-themed dinner party planned for Saturday (a potluck of recipes from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table) with a bunch of people I’ve never met, including a woman from France. I considered canceling when I heard the news on Friday, but it seemed like, when the world is hellbent on making us scared of enjoying life, and of welcoming strangers, that’s exactly what we should be doing. So I had the dinner, it was amazing, and the woman from France (who had spent the past 24 hours getting in touch with her family and friends there) said she was happy we did it since it’s exactly what she would have been doing with friends in Paris on a Saturday night.
Thank you for sharing this insightful essay with us, Erica. Marche on!
Modern Day Ma says
This is spot on. Thank you so much for sharing these words of comfort and hope with us, Erica!