But before Gettysburg came a cemetery in the town of Lafayette, NJ. The town was named after the Marquis Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette. Those photographs have vanished and now Gettysburg PA has taken their place.
Lafayette, the man: The Marquis de Lafayette boldly came to America, from France, in June of 1777, as a young man ready to fight in the American Revolution. His talents were recognized. Within a short time, he was appointed a Major General and assigned to General Washington's staff.
Lafayette paid his own way, buying food, uniforms, and supplies for his soldiers. Washington accepted him as the son he never had. Leading his men in battle, Lafayette was wounded at Brandywine in September, 1777. He went on to take an active leadership part in the American Revolution.
He was instrumental in persuading France to give money to support America in its battle with Britain. He also helped to lead France in its revolution. At the end of the war, he was offered a great estate in the United States, but chose to return to France to aid in its rebuilding after the French Revolution.
In 1824 he came back to tour the United States and was given a hero's welcome. He was called "The Guest of the Nation". Ribbons were created to commemorate his visit.
Towns were renamed after him and celebrations were given wherever he visited. One of the interesting side effects of his trip to the United States was that many of the Revolutionary War monuments and buildings were in poor shape before Lafayette arrived. Committees were formed to restore America's treasures - such as Independence Hall in Philadelphia that had fallen into disrepair over the years and was missing most of its windows - so that they would not be shamed to have Lafayette visit a decaying site.
Not only was Lafayette a hero of the Revolution, but he was also responsible for the restoration and preservation of America's early buildings and monuments. Here is a small group of commemorative silk ribbons from his 1824 visit.
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Individual signed photos are available for sale at $200.00 for (approximately) 8 x 10 inches. They are matted and framed. They can be ordered from Stuart Schneider, P.O. Box 64, Teaneck, NJ 07666. All photos are copyright 2000 through 2008, Stuart Schneider & Rebecca Benjamin