The day of glory arrived on this day in 1789 as French angry citizens stormed the Bastille prison in Paris and released the handful of prisoners held there. This marked the beginning of the French Revolution that overthrew the aristocracy of King Louis XVI.
"Man is born free," declared Jean-Jacques Rousseau. "Everywhere he is in chains."
Inspired by the "Rights of Man" Enlightenment philosophies of Rousseau, John Locke, and François Voltaire, Bastille Day was a call to freedom and celebrated the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity that are represented by the French flag.
Locke, who believed in the equality of all, observed, "Whenever law ends, tyranny begins."
Fête de la Fédération (Feast of the Federations) was held on the first Anniversary of the insurrection, with an end of the absolute Monarchy and beginning of the Republic. Bastille Day was declared the French national holiday in 1880.
On this day, with the spirit of passionate nationalism, Parisians thronged the Champs-Elysées avenue for the colorful military parade, featuring mounted Republican Guards, flag-waving, and a hugh evening fireworks display near the Eiffel Tower.
About freedom, Voltaire said: "Man is free the moment he wants to be."
Mais, Oui! Liberty is power.