Search
Close this search box.

Marquis de Lafayette “Victory Lap Through Greenwich” 200th Anniversary Celebration

Event Details

Date: August 19, 2024
Time: 10:00 am
–12:00 pm

Sponsored by

Join Greenwich Historical Society, DAR Horseneck Chapter and Alliance Française Greenwich for the Marquis de Lafayette “Victory lap Through Greenwich” 200th Anniversary Celebration. Hosted at the Greenwich Historical Society, with the support of the Town and several local dining establishments. The celebration will feature:

  • Meet & take photos with a Marquis de Lafayette re-enactor
  • Keynote remarks by Chuck Schwam, Executive Director of the American Friends of Lafayette
  • Descendant Virginie de Lafayette
  • Proclamation by Fred Camillo
  • Period music
  • French pastries
  • Student exhibit
  • A film
  • Archival information on Lafayette’s tour in Greenwich

A special commemorative prix-fixe lunch at L’Escale will follow at 1pm.

FREE EVENT

The Marquis de Lafayette was a young man when he left France to fight in America’s Revolutionary War. Decades later, in 1824, he was invited back by President James Monroe to see the nation he helped create, including a swing through Greenwich, which was the first stop in Connecticut on his ‘victory lap’. 

From July 1824 to September 1825, Lafayette travelled 6,000 miles to every state by stagecoach, horseback, canal barge and steamboat and was enthusiastically greeted by thousands of citizens at every stop. Lafayette’s visit came at an important time as the country reconfirmed its allegiance to the ideas of the Founding Fathers and the memory of the war which gave the nation its liberty and independence.

Several events leading up to the 200th celebration include a commemorative display at Town Hall created with the help of local scouts and students with an ‘opening’ ceremony on June 4th that will remain on view through August; an announcement at the July 4th town ceremony; Bastille Day on July 14; a hand-off event at the NY/Greenwich border on August 18 at 7pm; and a French flag-raising at Town Hall at 9am on August 19th.

Re-enactor Bio

Michael Halbert is a retired civilian defense intelligence officer, having served over 37 years in a variety of foreign engagement postings, including Deputy Director, U.S. Army Foreign Liaison, Deputy Chief, Department of Defense Foreign Liaison within the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and DIA’s representative to the French Services at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France.  He speaks French fluently and both French and English are used interchangeably in his home.  Following nomination by the French military mission, Embassy of France, Washington, DC, he was decorated with France’s second highest order of chivalry, the Ordre National du Mérite, in 2006.

In addition to Lafayette, since the 1990s he has portrayed multiple civilian and military historical figures for a number of years, from Samuel de Champlain, Willam Fairfax, and Rochambeau to William Washington, among others, in presentations for school groups, local civic organizations, podcasts, and historic commemorations.  He has also appeared in multiple speaking and non-speaking roles for PBS productions, other filmed historical documentaries, and live stage performances.  He currently engages in historical interpretation of a variety of researched colonial and Revolutionary War figures at sites in Alexandria, Jamestown, and Yorktown, Virginia, Washington, DC, and Annapolis, Maryland.  In 2023 he became the official Rochambeau interpreter for Mount Vernon and routinely appears there in this role at appropriate events.