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Cities Named for La Fayette
On the occasion of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of the Marquis de Lafayette in December 2007, a delegation of mayors from American cities named after La Fayette travelled to France to participate for three days in conferences, debates and media events organized by the Senate at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris, the Chateau de Vincennes and the US Ambassador’s Residence.
ActuPresseCom | Sabine Renault-Sablonière 

The mayors discussed business, educational exchange and political systems during the conferences, highlighting the transatlantic spirit. Indeed, the “Hero of the Two Worlds” incarnates transatlantic friendship as one of its chief architects.
Between the French and the American people, tensions and dissension have often gone hand in hand with recognition and admiration. In the fall of 1917 when Colonel Charles E. Stanton exclaimed “Lafayette, nous viola,” Clémenceau, the Father of Victory (”Le père de la victoire”) replied with a critical analysis of the behavior of American troops during the First World War.

General Charles de Gaulle expressed his skepticism about the American nation which he defined as incomplete, and composed of a mix of communities which he compared to a Harlequin’s coat.  Nevertheless, de Gaulle was the first Western head of State to stand by the U.S. during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Beyond that everlasting ambiguity, as Lafayette himself said a constant holds true in the form of Franco-American unity on certain principles and interests. Chosen Citizen of Honor by the United States in 1825, Lafayette knew how to adopt the language of business in order to encourage his fellow citizens to engage with the Americans:  “Your love for this country has not ended with the war. You have put us under fresh obligations by your successful representation; now we shall free trade from its shackles in order to bridge mutual intercourse.”  To give further meaning to his commitment in favor of the US, Lafayette also gave importance to speeches based on values:  “II first went for the revolution and not for the war; warfare was only a secondary incident which in support of the rights of mankind had become necessary.”

The mayors of the La Fayette cities who gathered in France from Louisiana, Colorado, California, New York, Indiana, and Arkansas had the opportunity to ponder over La Fayette’s contributions in a tribute at the hero’s grave in Picpus cemetery.

Partners: ActuPresseCom, avec l’appui de la French American Foundation, Air France, la Chambre de Commerce et de l’Industrie de Paris (CCIP), Dupont de Nemours, l’Hôtel Concorde La Fayette, Publicis, Total, White & Case.


The delegation of American mayors on Marquis de LaFayette's grave, December 14th 2007, at the French cemetery of Picpus. 

      Article in Le Monde

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