On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I send best wishes to the people of France as you celebrate Bastille Day on July 14.
2014 is a significant year for French – American relations. We commemorate not just the 225th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, but the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings and the liberation of France, three dates that mark the enduring and personal bonds between our two countries. This is a special time to reflect on the strength of our alliance, which dates back to the founding of our republic, and on the unique way in which France and the United States have stood shoulder to shoulder in moments of greatest challenge not only to our nations but to the bedrock values we share.
I was privileged to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day at Normandy, and to visit St. Briac-sur-Mer, where my grandfather rebuilt our family home out of the rubble of World War II. I was reminded that, as the Allies freed Normandy, young French men picked up guns and marched shoulder to shoulder with American GIs. French women wove American flags to hang from window sills and placed flowers on the bodies of fallen soldiers. And at my family home, the people of St. Briac returned to my family priceless keepsakes salvaged from Nazi plunder and peril.
The bond our two nations share was made strong by the same dream of uncompromising liberty. Our shared commitment to a more just, more free world is the lifeblood of the French-American alliance still today as we work to promote peace and security, battle extremism, and prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Our extensive bilateral trade and investment make us natural economic and commercial partners. And together we continue to champion the cause of human freedom and to stand as beacons of liberty and equality to the world, as we have for more than two centuries.