Dear Friend of Lafayette,
This year, 2017, continues to be an important year for the commemoration of Lafayette and his legacy and for The AFL.
Since the publication of No. 86 of the Gazette in May, 80 AFL members celebrated our hero with a wonderful annual meeting in Bethlehem, Easton and Philadelphia, PA. Our special thanks to Diane Shaw and Pam Murray of Lafayette College for organizing and hosting our group. At the meeting, the membership approved the sites for 2018 and 2019, leaving it to the Board of Governors to determine the order. Chuck Schwam and I advocated for Annapolis/Baltimore and Savannah/Edisto Island respectively for 2018. After a spirited debate conducted respectfully and without charges or countercharges, the Board by majority vote approved Annapolis for 2018 and Savannah the following year.
AFL members participated in a number of other important events from June to October. These were the US Embassy’s Picpus Cemetery event held this year on June 30, 2017 where Augie Huber placed the AFL wreath, our own Picpus ceremony on the traditional date of July 4, a wreath-laying at the Baltimore Lafayette equestrian statue, which is 100 years old, on Lafayette’s birthday, September 6, and a ceremony to inaugurate the placement of equestrian statues of Generals Lafayette and Pershing in the town of Versailles, France in early October.
Still to come are the Yorktown Day festivities from October 18 to 20 – see Chuck’s article for details – and a visit to the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond on the anniversary, October 27, of Lafayette’s visit there. Governor Terry McAuliffe is expected to greet our group.
As you know, 2024 is the bicentennial of Lafayette’s Farewell Tour. At our annual meeting in June, I appointed Rob Raffety as chair of the planning committee with Peter Reilly of Massachusetts and Julien Icher, our young French friend, as vice chairs.
As many of you also know, Julien worked for the Consulate General for New England as an intern from March to July and documented the Lafayette Trail throughout the New England states. See Julien’s article and go to his website – www.thelafayettetrail.com.
We are in partnership with Lafayette College to support Julien in his quest to expand his work to all 24 states that Lafayette visited. The College and The AFL have applied for three grants to date, and we expect to hear about them by the end of the year. AFL member and Lafayette alumnus John Becica has already made a substantial pledge to jump-start the campaign. We will be affording our entire membership the opportunity to support this important project shortly.
Alan R. Hoffman