This was not the blog post I intended to write; it was not the blog post I could ever imagine I would write. Who could imagine writing about the horror of what happened in Paris on Friday night?
And yet, how can I not? For nearly 30 years France has been my home and Paris is just 45 minutes from our house in the country, a trip we make at least twice a week and often for no other reason than a desire to be in Paris.
We need to go into Paris in an inexplicable way that only those who love the city can understand. Paris is the antidote to feeling blue. Paris is full of promise, full of hope. . .
And now what?
All I can think is: What if people will be afraid to come to Paris? How terrible that would be.
Originally I had planned to tell you about next Thursday night, about a celebration, about gaiety, about dressing up, about my plans for the evening. I had intended to tell you, once again, what I thought I would wear. I was so very, very excited to be attending the soirée.
I am still excited, but everything is different now, now that Paris has been wounded.
On Thursday evening the French American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago will host Passport to France, the largest celebration of its kind in the United States. More than 800 will attend. French chefs will cook for the guests, French wine will flow, there will be music, every detail will be a celebration of all that is French.
Still, no matter what — even if at this moment we feel a sense of hopelessness and dismay — we must always celebrate Paris and all that France has meant to not only the United States, but also to the world.
Let us never forget France’s raison d’être: Liberté, égalité, fraternité.
(Thank you for your exquisitely kind and beautifully expressed emails. I will write to each of you. All of our friends and relatives are safe.)