This year, the AFL hosted the Yorktown Victory Day celebration. It was a marvelous 3 days.
Festivities started with a bang on Wednesday morning, October 18th as we unveiled our statue of Lafayette on the Yorktown waterfront. The ceremony will be attended by local dignitaries and Lafayette devotees from all over the country. We will gather to see Lafayette join his paternal friend (Washington) and fellow countryman (de Grasse). After the ceremony, the AFL will host a reception at the elegant Freight Shed on the Yorktown waterfront, only steps from the statue.
Then we were given a private tour of the new museum including the special exhibit on Yorktown veterans including General Lafayette and James (Armistead) Lafayette. There were speakers throughout the afternoon talking specifically about Lafayette including AFL president Alan Hoffman, AFL Curator Diane Shaw and the lead of the Lafayette Trail Project Julien Icher.
That evening, back at the museum, the Yorktown Day Association held its annual dinner hosted by the AFL. Our special guest, Lafayette was a very entertaining addition to the evening.
Thursday, October 19th began with another important ceremony sponsored by the AFL and the Friends of Rochambeau. We gathered at the French Cemetery near the Yorktown Battlefield to honor the French soldiers who died during the siege of Yorktown. This is a short yet very moving ceremony that is a must-see.
Following the cemetery observance, we attended the wreath-laying ceremony at the French Memorial in memory of the French veterans who served in the American Revolution. Then the very special Yorktown Day Parade marched down Main Street. There are few better examples of Americana than this parade. For the first time AFL had members march, with a lot of pizazz!
The parade ended at the Yorktown Victory Monument where the annual patriotic exercises took place. The pomp and circumstance is significant as hundreds gather to celebrate the victory that propelled Americans towards full independence. The exercises started with a military flag ceremony and singing of both French and American anthems.
On Friday, October 20th many joined us on a private tour of Fort Wool. This fort visited by Lafayette during his 1824 tour is only accessible by boat. We will be ferried over to Fort Wool on the very comfortable Miss Hampton II. After our tour we will again be hosted by Katherine & Robert Kelly for a brunch at their home in Fort Monroe. We were also given a tour and update of the renovation of the significant Quarters 1 home where not only Lafayette stayed, but Lincoln, Garfield and many other dignitaries have stayed. This has always been a lovely and delicious event that should not be missed.
Here is a wonderful video that a new member, Lei Hillier, made to commemorate the occasion.