Thursday, September 3, 2009

Superstar's Memory Honored by James Waldrop DAR in Fayetteville


Pictured are (l-r) James Waldrop DAR Member and Speaker Phyllis King, Regent Betty Harrah, Georgia State Society DAR Regent, Barbara Blakely Chastain, and James Waldrop Chapter DAR Commemorative Chairman Susan Sloan.

Do you know the significance of September 3rd in the history of America? What about September 6th?

If you answered with the end of the American Revolution and a Frenchman's birthday, you're right! The Treaty of Paris, which was signed on September 3, 1783, formally ended the American Revolution between Great Britain and the American colonies. Among the points made in the Treaty of Paris was the acknowledgement of the 13 colonies to be free, sovereign and independent States.

The James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution saluted this day in American history as well as the birthday of the Marquis de Lafayette, who was instrumental in the colonies' fight against the English crown by hosting a dinner in Fayetteville to celebrate these two events. The featured speaker was Phyllis King, DAR member and Fayetteville resident, who spoke about Lafayette's Superstar status after the American Revolution was over.

King said, "In the summer of 1824, cities and towns across the 24 States of the Union began plans and preparations for the visit of the last surviving General of the Revolutionary War, Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette. The New Republic was dear to him and the feeling was mutual. For 13 monthes he was celebrated almost daily with speeches, banquets, balls, long processionals and gun salutes. The"Nation's Guest " laid cornorstones for monuments and buildings, greeted old comrades, and reviewed militias.

His superstar status led 26 states to name 18 counties, 36 cities, a military fort and a mountain in his honor and his face appeared on more currency, second only to George Washington. During his stay he met with the President, visited Congress, dined with former Presidents, met with many governors and mayors as well as citizens and Native Americans. Congress awarded him $200.000. After all, he paid his way here in 1777 at age 19, took a commision with no pay and outfitted his first command with uniforms and weapons. In 1779 he convinced Louis XVI to loan money, send Rochambeau and 5000 French troops, and a naval squadron to aid the colonies in their struggle for independence.One author, Alan Hoffman, writes of Lafayette, "He was the noblest, most consistent, most principled, most modern of the Founding Fathers. He was one of the Greatest men of his time, a 19th century "Superstar".

"On his visit through Georgia, he landed in Savannah on March 19, 1825 and laid the cornerstone for monuments to Casmir Pulaski and Nathanial Greene. He traveled on to Augusta and Milledgeville where he found a man who had helped carry him off the field of battle at Brandywine. In his last days in Georgia, traveling through Macon and Marion County he met and visited with Creek Chief William McIntosh's son. His travels continued through all states and he returned to Boston in time for the 50th anniversary of Bunker Hill."

"On his return to France." she continued," he would carry soil from Bunker Hill which would cover his grave after his death in May of 1834 at age 76. In Lafayette's speech to Congress, he summed up his beliefs and his life, "I have stayed faithful to the American principle of liberty,equality,true social order to which I have been devoted since my youth, and which til my last breath will be a scared duty to me."

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