The Marquis de Lafayette is wounded at the battle of Brandywine
With the end of the war, Lafayette returned to France a hero of both nations. He helped Thomas Jefferson negotiate trade treaties and rose among the highest military ranks of France. Congress took a risk promoting an inexperienced but confident young man devoted to the cause and eager to prove himself. As providence would have it, George Washington loved Lafayette as a son and a man he could count on, who always obeyed orders and never disappointed the confidence placed in him.
Washington (left) and Lafayette (right) at Valley Forge
The young French aristocrat forged a bond between France and the United States that lasted more than one hundred fifty years. The endurance of this bond was well illustrated in a July 4, 1917 speech delivered in Paris at Lafayette’s grave by Colonel Charles E. Stanton upon America’s entering WWI and coming to the aid of a war-weary France:
“The fact cannot be forgotten that your nation was our friend when America was struggling for existence… that France in the person of Lafayette came to our aid in words and deed. It would be ingratitude not to remember this, and America defaults no obligations… America has joined forces with the Allied Powers, and what we have of blood and treasure are yours. Therefore it is that with loving pride we drape the colors in tribute of respect to this citizen of your great republic. And here and now, in the presence of the illustrious dead, we pledge our hearts and our honor in carrying this war to a successful issue. Lafayette, we are here!”
Col. Stanton addresses the citizens of Paris at Lafayette’s grave, July 4, 1917