Something for the weekend. Rushing Bastille Day a bit, we have Edith Piaf, as a child in a film about her life, singing the French National Anthem.
Without a doubt the greatest French songstress of the last century, Piaf led a life of tortured immorality, and yet she, by her own account, was the beneficiary of a miracle. From three to seven she was blind as a result of keratitis. She was cured when the prostitutes of her grandmother, who ran a brothel, contributed money to send her on a pilgrimage honoring Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. On her deathbed, dying an agonizing death of liver cancer at age 47, she had a last moment of moral clarity when her final words were uttered: “Every damn fool thing you do in this life, you pay for.” May she now be enjoying in the next world the peace that eluded her in this.
My favorite Piaf song is “Non, je ne regrette rien” (No, I regret nothing) which she dedicated to the French Foreign Legion. When the First Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment surrendered after their involvement in the failed coup attempt against the government of Charles de Gaulle in 1961, they marched out of their barracks singing this song:
It is of course impossible for me to have a post in which La Marseillaise is mentioned without including this clip: