Honoring Lafayette’s legacy

Published 7:35 pm Sunday, September 9, 2018

In the weekend edition of The LaGrange Daily News, we wrote about some of the celebrations that were held to honor the Marquis de Lafayette on his birthday and the state holiday that was named in his honor.

It would be easy to question why we — Americans living nearly 200 years after this Frenchman’s death — should honor Lafayette, but the reason why was answered clearly by the speakers at events last week. 

It is not so much the man that we honor, as his courage and commitment to the ideal of freedom and his courage to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to offer his assistance to the founding fathers during the Revolutionary War. 

When he made that trip, the Marquis de Lafayette was only 19-years-old and had already asked the king of France to help the Americans in their fight. The king refused, so Lafayette secretly purchased a ship so that he could fight alongside George Washington. Lafayette became a successful military leader and helped the United States win its independence.

When Lafayette returned to tour the United States in 1825, he was honored as a hero, and locations throughout the country were named in his honor, including a county seat in what would soon become Troup County that was named after his wife’s family’s estate, the Chateau de la Grange.