Auspicious Prelude to Epic July 4th Parade of Ships July 2, 2015
A Fraternity of French and American Flags Waving Welcome to the Hermione at Pier 15, South Street Seaport Museum, on July 1, 2015, New York City. Photo Credit: David Lincoln Ross for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. – All rights reserved
Left to right: Craig Stapleton, former US Ambassador to France, Christophe Navarre, Chief Executive Officer of Moët Hennessy, Jim Clerkin, CEO, Moët Hennessy USA, Miles Young, President, Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. Photo Credit: David Lincoln Ross for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. – All rights reserved
Miles Young, President of Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc., thanking Craig Stapleton, former US Ambassador to France, for all his contributions and welcoming one and all aboard the Hermione in New York on July 1, 2015. Photo Credit: David Lincoln Ross for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. – All rights reserved
Bertrand Lortholary, Consul General of France in New York, addressing Hermione Captain Cariou and crew and assembled dignitaries and guests on board the Hermione in New York on July 1, 2015. Photo Credit: David Lincoln Ross for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. – All rights reserved
Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner for International Affairs, The City of New York, expressing the special welcome to distinguished guests on behalf of City of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, on board the Hermione in New York on July 1, 2015. Photo Credit: David Lincoln Ross for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. – All rights reserved
Captain Jonathan Boulware, Executive Director of the South Street Seaport Museum, on board the Hermione docked at Pier 15 on July 1, 2015 in New York City. Photo Credit: David Lincoln Ross for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. – All rights reserved
Brian Patterson, Senior Representative of the Oneida Nation, from Upstate New York, addressing the audience gathered on board the Hermione on July 1, 2015, New York City. Photo Credit: David Lincoln Ross for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. – All rights reserved
At New York’s South Street Seaport Museum, crowds line up on July 1, 2015, to learn about the story of Lafayette, the Hermione and the French-American alliance leading to Victory at Yorktown in 1781. This mobile exhibit is an important part of the US educational outreach of Association Hermione-La Fayette and Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc., during each port stop Hermione makes along the Eastern seaboard. Photo Credit: David Lincoln Ross for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. – All rights reserved
At a July 1, 2015 reception hosted by French Consul General of New York Bertrand Lortholary in honor of the Hermione’s visit, a quartet of Hermione crew members pause for a colorful portrait. Photo Credit: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. – All rights reserved
Toasting the Hermione and enjoying the Hennessy ‘Cur Non’ Cocktail, Francis Dubois, Former French UN Ambassador, President of Comité du Souvenir de Lafayette, left, and Miles Young, President, Friends of Hermione-Lafayette In America, Inc., at French Consulate in New York on July 1, 2015. Photo Credit: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. – All rights reserved
On a sultry, sunny morning of July 1, 2015, in sight of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, the Hermione French Frigate of Freedom docked at Pier 15 on the East River in Lower Manhattan at the South Street Seaport Museum https://southstreetseaportmuseum.org for a long-planned Fourth of July end-of-week visit.
In a steady breeze, flags of all sizes of France and the U.S.A. flapped, hands of a thousand spectators clapped and a French Jazz Band played both New Orleans standards – “Down By The Riverside” – and popular French tunes to the delight of both the Hermione’s boisterous crew, naval and diplomatic dignitaries from France, the U.S. and the City of New York, and dozens of reporters from the international, U.S. and French media, including NBC-TV Correspondent Harry Smith.
Open to the public for tours on a first-come, first-served basis on July 2-3 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., the Hermione will attract thousands of visitors who will learn that were it not for Lafayette – known as the “Hero of Two Worlds” – and the combined might of the French Army under General Rochambeau and the French Navy under Admiral de Grasse, our country would not have achieved independence.
As The New York Times reported in its July 1, 2015 edition, the Hermione’s arrival recalled, “The year was 1824, and some 50,000 people — roughly a third of New York’s population — lined the streets for a glimpse of Lafayette, the “French founding father,” who was visiting the United States as part of a 13-month triumphal tour of the nation he had helped liberate nearly a half-century earlier.”
Following the French and US national anthems, in welcoming remarks made to the French diplomatic corps, military representatives of both countries, City of New York officials, Hermione Captain Yann Cariou and his crew, and assembled guests on board the Hermione, former U.S. Ambassador to France Craig Stapleton, who is a Board Member of Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc., welcomed the distinguished guests and introduced Miles Young, President of Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc., and Worldwide Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather.
In his opening remarks, Young said, “The story of the Hermione operates at many different levels. At one level, it symbolizes a tipping point in history, the ship and the journey that brought Lafayette back to America with the message of whole hearted French support….. At another level, it is the story of modern day audacity. Lafayette’s motto, “why not?” describes this well. So, “why not build a completely authentic replica of a French eighteenth century frigate and sail her to the United States?”.
Among distinguished guests on board for the Hermione Welcome Ceremonies – many of whom made a short speech – were: the Mayor of Rochefort, France, M. Hervé Blanché; Association Hermione Lafayette Director of Communications Isabelle Georget; President of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council M. Jean-Francois Macaire; Ms. Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner for International Affairs, The City of New York; and Brian Patterson, a Senior Representative of the Oneida Nation, from upstate New York, and one of the earliest allies of the United States during the fight for independence thanks largely to Major General Lafayette.
In his welcoming remarks, the Consul General of France in New York Bertrand Lortholary said, “I am particularly pleased that L’Hermione will be in New York, last city to be liberated by George Washington in 1783, for Independence Day weekend. There couldn’t be a more powerful symbol of French-American friendship as we are about to celebrate the birth of America, and I invite you all to come see the Hermione lead the Hermione-Lafayette Parade of Ships on the Fourth of July, and salute her fellow “countrywoman”, the Statue of Liberty, for what promises to be a deeply moving and symbolic moment.”
Next, as host of the Hermione at Pier 15, Captain Jonathan Boulware, Executive Director of the South Street Seaport Museum, said: “The Seaport Museum is a truly appropriate place for L’Hermione to tie up. New York is a city built on its waterways, a city built on its harbor. And this, the original port of New York, is what made New York what it is…. The South Street Seaport Museum tells that story here at its East River piers, in its 19th century counting-house galleries in Schermerhorn Row, and throughout the Seaport.”
Captain Boulware finished his remarks with a call to celebrate the French frigate in the style of American sailors. “Three cheers for the good ship L’Hermione,” he sang out. The assembled crowd responded with a rousing cheer for this lovely, unique, and magical frigate that bore a delegation of friendship across the North Atlantic.
Young returned to the podium, and related, “Finally, it is my pleasure to refer again to the Association Hermione Lafayette. We have in the audience, members of the Foundation and Board – Francois Bujon de l’Estang , Alain Bourdeaux, John Crawford. But we’re also so pleased to have, representing M. Benedict Donnelly, Paul Le Bihan, Vice-Chairman.”
He continued, “At this point I want to acknowledge all who have worked so hard on this side of the Atlantic in our slender organization: Judi Kilachand, our Executive Director, and all our Committee members, Remi, Pascale, Nicolas, Bob, David, Tristan, Brigitte, Marc. But one above all, today, and that is Wendy Riches, our New York Chairman – whose good humor, soft and hard! – diplomacy, formidable administrative skills have made what at various times seem impossible now look easy – which it was not.”
Last, but not least, Young concluded the ceremonies, noting, “Ladies and Gentleman, we are grateful to all our sponsors, private and corporate. Without your support Hermione would not be here. In one case the relationship goes right back to 1779, and I am so happy to be able to introduce to you today the Chief Executive Officer of Moët Hennessy, M. Christophe Navarre.
Mr. Navarre said the Hermione 2015 Voyage and Lafayette share the same “Cur Non” spirit and that Moët Hennessy’s support is emblematic of its presence as a proud French company in the United since 1794, the year of the first document shipment of Hennessy Cognac to its U.S. importer, the predecessor company of Moët Hennessy USA. He also noted that 2015 is the 250th anniversary of the founding of Cognac Hennessy House, and on board the Hermione is a specially blended barrel of Hennessy 250th Anniversary Collector’s Blend, which will be donated at an upcoming Robin Hood Foundation fundraiser in New York City.
In closing, Young said, “The Hermione has made a transatlantic journey up the East Coast, and on Saturday the ‘frigate of liberty’ will salute the Statue of Liberty. This is one of the most significant history projects of this century. It reminds us, above all, of the long lasting friendship between the United States and France, and, to one and all, be sure not to miss the Hermione-Lafayette Parade of Ships in New York harbor on July 4th, beginning at 10 a.m. Thank you.”
For more information about Hermione’s itinerary, please visit: http://hermione2015.com/voyage2015
To support the Hermione Voyage 2015, please visit: http://hermione2015.com/donate.html#donate