July 11, 2024

            Editors: This is an op-ed submission in connection to the Brandywine Valley’s participation in the Lafayette Bicentennial Celebration.

Brandywine Valley celebrates kickoff

of the Lafayette Bicentennial Celebration

with second Lafayette Day at Thornbury Farm 

         Two hundred years ago a French hero of the American Revolution, the Marquis Lafayette, was welcomed by hundreds of thousands of Americans in New York City to begin a 13-month grand tour of the United States as the Nation’s Guest.

One reason Lafayette was honored was that Americans were beginning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of our country. Today, as we are commencing to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of our country, Lafayette is once again being honored.

Lafayette deserves the accolades. He was instrumental in obtaining France’s support as we won our freedom. He was a volunteer who spent much of his fortune on our freedom. He spilled his own blood during the battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777. There are so many reasons to honor the Frenchman.

On Saturday, July 20, 2024, from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. the second Lafayette Day will be celebrated at Thornbury Farm, 1256 Thornbury Road, West Chester. The event is free and designed to be a fun, family event. The event is hosted by the Lafayette Bicentennial Brandywine Committee and farm proprietor Randell Spackman.

The event features medical artifacts from the Revolution from the J. Howard Wert collection, a heritage walk to where Lafayette was wounded, remarks from Adrianne Lafayette on her husband, and a reading of a prayer by relatives of the person who gave the prayer in West Chester on July 26, 1825, before Lafayette. There will also be games for the children, food trucks, remarks by dignitaries from Chester and Delaware counties and displays and information offered by historical organizations.

Lafayette Day is the perfect time to lean about an American hero.

Lafayette began his tour in New York City in August 1824. The American Friends of Lafayette is beginning its 13-month celebration in New York City, beginning August 15, 2024. The organization has been working for several years to recreate Lafayette grand tour. For information, see www.lafayette200.org.

One of the stops was in Chester and on October 5, 2024, an event will take place to commemorate the event. On July 26, 2025, events will take place in Chadds Ford and West Chester.

The members of the local and national committees of the American Friends hope you will attend as many of the celebrations as possible.

(Bruce E. Mowday is chair of the Lafayette Bicentennial Brandywine Committee and a member of the board of Chester County’s 250th Committee. He can be reached at mowday@mowday.com.)