We watched explosions of twinkling fairy dust against the dark sky, the Eiffel Tower shimmering like an oversized sparkler dominating the skyline. Peaceful crowds lined the river, the parks, the bridges.
In 1789 Parisians stormed Bastille, a prison that symbolized atrocities of the ruling class, and since then France has celebrated the beginning of the French Republic much like Americans celebrate the Fourth of July.
Darkness falls late in France during summer, so it was nearly midnight when the fireworks started, and over a million people gathered to watch.
Not until we wandered back to our rented apartment did I realize that my cellphone had been vibrating, concerned friends on the other side of the world wondering, hoping, we were okay.
I grieve for the families whose evening ended so differently from ours and struggle to understand what is happening in the world. Feeling impotent, I offer a prayer for peace.