July 16, 2016
Janine di Giovanni wrote for Newsweek about the French attacks:
It was a warm night in Nice on Thursday—so warm that many in the French Riviera town decided to dine outside or enjoy the night air. More than 80 of those people died and hundreds more were injured by Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a deranged terrorist who rammed his truck into the crowds.
It was a shocking conclusion to an otherwise celebratory day in France: July 14 is a national holiday commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison and the beginning of the French revolution. By 10 a.m. on Thursday, crowds were gathered at the Champs d’Elysee to watch Europe’s oldest military parade; jets flew in unison overhead, dispersing clouds of red, blue and white smoke, matching the colors of the French flag. The president, François Hollande, joined the many people who were singing La Marseillaise, the national anthem of France.
A crowd of schoolchildren dressed in flag-colored T-shirts led the verses—coined after France’s declaration of war against Austria in 1792. The words are particularly violent but also deeply stirring—a kind of rallying, patriotic call to citizens to fight against foreign invasion. Hollande looked moved, at one point appearing to have tears in his eyes. I remember thinking that the dead from the November 13 attacks must be on his mind.