The Grand evening begins!
My wife, Annie and our daughters, Lindsay and Cecily at the entrance of the Palace. How Beautiful they are!!
Despite the finger over the lens, this is still a great shot of our dear friend Helen Patton and me. Notice – I’m wearing my Grandfather’s 89th Division, Rolling W Division lapel pin!
Entering the Palace – Incredible!
Just inside, was our friend Yael Rosen, who is with the event’s sponsor, the United States World War I Centennial Commission. She was one of the master planners of this ’Off The Charts’ incredible evening. As you can see she is still hard at work! A Huge Thank You to Yael and everyone who made this amazing evening possible!
We did it!! (Helen took the photo.)
Helen and her son, Ingmar.
Of course, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were there to welcome the five-hundred some French and American guests into their home.
There was a moving cocktail party through the opulent royal bedchambers, parlors, and the Salon d’Hercule.
Lindsay and Cecily!
The cocktail party then spilled out into the Hall of Mirrors, where the peace treaty had been signed.
Before dinner, we passed through one more room. On display was the incredible maquette or miniature of the World War I sculpture planned for Washington, D.C. at Pershing Park, just east of the White House. The brilliant sculpture, Sabine Howard was on hand to explain the project.
The tragedy is there is not a World War I memorial in D.C. This monument will correct an enormous National oversight.
Annie with Sabine Howard.
We then entered the Grand Hall of Battles for a dinner that would have made the Sun King proud!
The enormous paintings on each side of the hall depict the great military victories throughout French history.
My favorite painting, of course, is the Battle of Yorktown. The British surrender at Yorktown on October 19, 1781, was the very birth of our nation.
But, why a French victory? Indeed it was! Had it not been for the French General, Comte de Rochambeau and his army the Seige of Yorktown would not have resulted in the surrender of Great Britain. Lafayette was also there.
In the painting, Washington is center-right and Rochambeau stands at Washington’s right.
During dessert, David Rockefeller, Jr. spoke about the importance of philanthropy. He recounted the story of how his grandfather, John D. Rockefeller, donated $2 million (today’s equivalent $30 million) to save Versailles, in 1925. He went on and talked about how France was our oldest ally and how the United States had come to the aid of France in both world wars.
In closing, Dr. Monique Seefried, spokesperson for the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, explained that several million dollars more were needed to complete the Washington D.C. World War I memorial project. She asked each of us to contribute to this most urgent and vital endeavor. Speaking to the many French people she said contributing would be a great way for them to say, ”Thank You.”
Following the glorious dinner, we all adjourned to the Hall of Mirrors where we crowded around the windows to enjoy a spectacular fireworks display over the gardens. Please click on the brief video.
One last, fond look at the Hall of Mirrors.