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Tuesday July 21, 2009 Edition
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Celebrating French Heritage Day

photo by Cookie Steponaitis

photo by Cookie Steponaitis

photo by Cookie Steponaitis

photo by Cookie Steponaitis

Tuesday July 21, 2009

By Cookie Steponaitis

    “When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness.” Alexis de Tocqueville (1833)

    When French nobleman and historian Alexis de Tocqueville traveled America in the early 1800’s, he saw it through the lens of a historian and a recorder of social history. Both encouraged and amazed by the birth of a new nation and its ideals of freedom, he wrote home to his family, “I confess that in America I saw more than America; I sought the image of democracy itself, with its inclinations, its character, its prejudices, and its passions.” Traveling the country, he recorded his journey in the 1835 printing of Democracy in America, he recounted the passion, ingenuity, durability and unbridled energy of the nation that was in the process of growth. He remarked constantly in his work about the joining of the French and new American cultures and how the bonds not only strengthened the new nation, but served as a future link between the people, cultures and countries.

    One can therefore assume the great joy that the French Heritage Days Celebrations in Vergennes this past weekend would have brought the traveler. Blending skills, ideas, music, customs, transportation, foods and fun, the French Heritage Days brought a smile to the face, a tapping to the toe and a series of reminders of the shared history between the people of Addison County and the French culture of both Canada and France. All who attended came away with lighter spirits and a wonder at all there was to see and experience. The Valley Voice congratulates those who work so hard on this event to make it a reality and to those who take time to help all celebrate the heritage of all who call Vermont their home.

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