June 8, 2015
Hermione Fires Cannon at Yorktown on May 6, 2015 Photograph: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
Miles Young, President, Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, far right, holding cloth, and Joe DiBello, right, Superintendent, National Park Service at the Yorktown Ceremony, May 6, 2015, unveiling a new NPS-National Historical Trail plaque that commemorates the WR3-US trail. Photograph: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
Governor Terry McAuliffe at his address during the Yorktown Hermione Ceremony, June 6, 2015. Credits :Photograph: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
Miles Young, President, Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc., addresses the Yorktown Ceremony audience on May 6, 2015, noting, “For French and American alike, this is a day to remember.” Photograph: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
Ségolène Royal, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, said, “I am very happy to join you here today in welcoming the Hermione on behalf of the President of the French Republic and the French Government.” Photograph: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
Lily Rougeot, PR & Communications, Hennessy, Moët Hennessy USA ,left, and Samantha Barnes, Vice President, Communications, Moët Hennessy USA, right, celebrate the arrival of the Hermione in Yorktown, May 6, 2015. Moët Hennessy is the Founding Partner of Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. Commemorating our 250th anniversary, The Hennessy 250 Collector Blend pays full tribute to two-and-a-half centuries of excellence, international expansion, and visionary passion. The Hermione carried two Hennessy barrels of the 250th Collector Blend on its voyage from Rochefort to Yorktown.Photograph: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
With her 12-pounder cannons firing in celebration, Hermione, the French Frigate of Freedom, arrived right on time to Yorktown, Virginia on June 5, 2014. Greeted by thousands of enthusiastic shoreline observers—including a distinguished group from the Poitou-Charentes region in France—one and all shouted welcome and ‘bienvenue’ to Hermione Captain Yann Cariou and his youthful crew.
A full morning of special ceremonies began with the unveiling of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route-National Historic Trail (W3R-US/NHT)Wayside Marker at Yorktown’s Riverwalk Landing. Welcomed first by the Fifes and Drums of York Town, next Nicole Yancey, W3R-US-NHT Liaison with Virginia, observed that this historic trail extends from Newport, Rhode Island to Yorktown and recognized the contribution Yorktown and York County executives. Then, with the help of Superintendent Joe DiBello, National Park Service (NPS), and Miles Young, President of Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc., the two unveiled the new Wayside Marker, whose text and illustrations commemorate Washington, Rochambeau, Lafayette and the Hermione during the siege and victory at Yorktown.
Next, following military music by the U.S. Fleet Forces Band, Thomas G. Shepperd, Jr., Chairman of York County Board of Supervisors welcomed His Excellency Gérard Araud, French Ambassador to the U.S.; Hermione Captain Yann Cariou; David Yancey, Virginia House of Delegates; Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander U.S. Fleet Forces Command; General Jean-Paul Palmeros, Supreme Aliied Commander, Transformation, NATO; Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean, representative of the French Navy, among others.
With boundless Virginian pride, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was the first speaker who told assembled guests how proud he was of Virginia in American history, singling out the heroism displayed by Admiral de Grasse, Comte de Rochambeau and Major General Lafayette along with brave Virginians and other American forces under the command of General Washington during the siege and victory of Yorktown.
Then, Miles Young, who is Worldwide Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, recounted the importance of the ‘Why Not” spirit of Major General Lafayette. In eloquent terms, Young explained how young Lafayette’s life and values remain an inspiration 235 years later and are especially meaningful for young people. He said, “My task today is simple—to pay tribute to the Association Hermione-La Fayette who made the Hermione possible—to its inceptor, the then Mayor of Rochefort, Jean-Louis Frot, his successors, M. Grasset and M. Blanchet; to the author Erik Orsenna; and most especially to Benedict Donnelly, whose dynamic energy drove the project forward; to Maryse Vital, the CEO and her team; and to the Board and Foundation who have supported them, represented here by Olivier Pagezy, Alain Bourdeaux and John Crawford.” He also credited the support of the Hermione Voyage 2015 by Moët Hennessy. He concluded, noting, “For French and American alike, this is a day to remember.”
A special guest and someone who has been a longstanding supporter of the Hermione project, Ségolène Royal, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, said, “I am very happy to join you here today in welcoming the Hermione on behalf of the President of the French Republic and the French Government… May I add how proud I am that this extraordinary adventure came to fruition in part thanks to the support of my region Poitou-Charentes. Today, a dream becomes reality, a dream of thousands of volunteers led by Benedict Donnelly, involved for more than ten years, the dream of territories like Poitou-Charentes, the Department of Charentes-Maritime, and the city of Rochefort ; the dream of 50 small corporations specialized in all the handcraft needed to rebuild the ship the way it was in 1780: for the carpentry, the sails, the ironwork and the foundry of guns. The dream of 4 million visitors to the site of the building over the last ten years; the dream of the vocational students whom I asked to make the furniture for the ship; a dream I would want all our American friends to share, thanks to the dedication of Miles Young and his team.” Following her remarks, Minister Royal presented a copy of the French Rights of Man Proclamation to Captain Yann Cariou on behalf of the French Republic.
Lastly, Virginia Delegate David Yancey made the Presentation of the York County Proclamation to Hermione Captain Yann Cariou, who thanked Mr. Yancey and York County for this great honor.
The day’s formal events ended at the Yorktown Victory Monument with a Wreath Laying Ceremony, with remarks noting the long and deep friendship between France and the United States by Miles Young. His Excellency Gérard Araud and Minister Ségolène Royal presented the wreath at the foot of the Yorktown Victory Monument. French Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean gave a reading of an entry from the journal of Captain Latouche-Tréville of the original Hermione during her participation in the Yorktown engagement. Read Admiral Hervé Bléjean also paid tribute to the French and American soldiers and sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Yorktown siege and victory.
The Hermione is scheduled to stay in Yorktown from June 5-7, after which it will commence its voyage north along the Eastern Seaboard. During her stop in Yorktown, there will be a full complement of entertainments, free visits on board the Hermione and the display of educational panels depicting the history of the Hermione and the Poitou-Charentes region from which she sailed.
For information and support of the Hermione 2015 Voyage, please visit: www.hermione2015.com