Ceremony at Colonial Williamsburg to honor WWI veterans

Plans are underway for the Sons of the American Revolution Veterans Day Service and 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I at the Governor’s Palace 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

The theme for this year’s Veterans Day Event and the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I is “Lafayette, We Are Here,” commemorating the arrival and support of American forces in France during the war.

"Lafayette, we are here." These words were spoken during World War I at the tomb of the Marquis de Lafayette during a speech honoring his heroic service in the cause of the American Revolution. On July 4,1917 Paris celebrated American Independence Day. A U.S. battalion marched to the Picpus Cemetery, where several speeches were made at Lafayette's tomb. The historic words uttered on that occasion, "Lafayette, nous voilà" (Lafayette, we are here), were spoken by Colonel Charles E. Stanton:

“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.”

The Williamsburg Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution will partner with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to observe Veterans Day by conducting wreath-laying ceremonies at the Governor’s Palace Revolutionary War Cemetery Sunday. The following organizations will participate during the wreath laying ceremony: Williamsburg and Yorktown Chapters of the SAR, DAR, Compte de Grasse (DAR), Children of the American Revolution (CAR), Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Boy Scout Troop 1932, and ladies of the Amicale-Francophone (a French-American organization).

In honoring the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I, we will highlight and recognize the support and courage of our French allies and Marquis de Lafayette during our war for independence.

We will also reflect and remember the American veterans who fought in France during WWI thus “Lafayette We Are Here!” Our annual flag procession of replicas of revolutionary war flags will memorialize the 158 people who were casualties of the Yorktown Campaign during the American Revolutionary War. The Revolutionary War veterans were treated at the Governor’s Palace Hospital (1781) and died of wounds or sickness. The Palace had been converted into a hospital to support the Continental Army during the war. Marquis de Lafayette (Mark Schneider, Colonial Williamsburg Nation Builder and actor-interpreter) will represent the French Government.

In regards to WWI, Col. Junius F. Lynch (portrayed by great-grandson, John Lynch) will represent a WWI soldier in the ceremony as both he and Lafayette will give speeches and then join hands of friendship. Colonel Lynch, of Norfolk, graduated from the Medical College of Virginia in 1888. He was appointed to be the surgeon general of the Virginia National Guard in 1910 and held that position at the time of the World War. Dr. Lynch was federalized in August 1917 and spent 18 months in France with the American Expeditionary Force.

John S. Lynch is a physician assistant who traveled the world during a 30-year career with the federal government. His areas of professional interest include tropical medicine, infectious diseases, and disaster medicine. Educationally Mr. Lynch holds a masters of science in physician assistant studies, a masters of science in bio-security and emergency planning, and a diploma from the United States Army Command and general staff officer course.

Campbell is a member of the Williamsburg Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Copyright © 2018, The Virginia Gazette
55°