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For the first time in more than 230 years, the Hermione is back at the Yorktown Waterfront.
Although not the original ship, the replica 18th-century, 26-cannon Hermione that brought Marquis de Lafayette to America in 1780 is now seen as a symbol of the lasting relationship between the France and the U.S., according to officials from both countries who welcomed the Hermione to Yorktown on Friday.
York County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom Shepperd greeted the hundreds of people attending the opening ceremony with a French welcome, followed by the English translation, and spoke of the strong relationship between the French and Americans that began with Marquis de Lafayette and Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War.
“As you walk through Yorktown, you are walking in the footsteps of our nation’s first president and the many Frenchmen to whom we owe our thanks,” Shepperd said. “Today we celebrate the French that gave so much during the forming of our nation.”
He presented Hermione's Captain, Yann Cariou, with a resolution to commemorate the ship's arrival in Yorktown on June 5.
"The voyage of Hermione was the pivotal moment that founded this fraternal alliance between the United States and France," said Ségolène Royal, France's Minister forEcology, Sustainable Development and Energy, at an opening ceremony Friday.
She presented Gov. Terry McAuliffe with the "Declaration of the Rights of Man" and said she was honored to represent France at the ship's first port-of-call.
"It's an amazing adventure for French and Americans alike. This is a day to remember," she said.
The Hermione will be docked in Yorktown through Sunday and will be open for public deck tours. Admission is free but tickets are required and can be picked up at the ticket booth by Riverwalk Landing.
Check out a full list of events this weekend during Hermione's visit here, and view more photos from aboard the ship here.