While Bordeaux is relatively far from Paris, it made no difference in terms of the shock and sadness felt here, and all over the country …or the world for that matter. It felt similar to us in many ways as it did after 9/11. It was also interesting how being from another country did not really change or diminish our relationship to the tragedy …that this was an assault on the whole of civilized society regardless of nationality…and in fact “Nous sommes Paris.”
We were gratified to see some of the U.S. response, in particular an articulate and impassioned speech by Secretary of State John Kerry at the U.S. embassy in Paris. He pointed out the long bond of friendship and support between our two countries, going back to France’s support during our struggle for independence over 200 years ago. We were also reminded of this bond when we visited Château Carbonnieux a grand cru estate in the Graves region of Bordeaux, where Thomas Jefferson (a huge French wine lover and U.S. Minister to France at the time) had visited on his several day tour of Bordeaux wine estates in 1787. On that visit he planted two trees at the estate, which are still alive today …and we couldn’t help but feel (almost literally) that historical bond between our two countries.
We are sure, in spite of the immense shock and sadness caused by the attacks, that France is in no way diminished as a cornerstone of culture and civility in the world …and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to be here.