Day one afternoon at Fort Adams under the tent as “Guests” (see photos below)
At Fort Adams we were able to get a close up look at the frigate with our Guest stickers on our lapels We gained entrance to the huge tent for special guests. It was set up at the dock beside the frigate.
Let us not forget that the arrival of the Hermione was a salute to our two countries, France and America, who had been covert friends before the 1776 Declaration of Independence. In fact the French covertly shipped arms and cash via the wealthy Marblehead, Massachusetts, shipping merchant Jeremiah Lee. His ships picked up war materiel in Spain contributed by the Dutch, the French and the Spanish, right up to the eve of the battle of Lexington and Concord.
This day in Newport, we celebrate the alliance of France and America that has extended over a period of some 240 years at least. The dignitaries under the tent were many, some in French naval uniform, some in American Naval uniform, along with re-enactors sporting their colors representative of Revolutionary times and the rest of us in our best red, white and blue street clothes. With those three colors, one cannot go wrong as the tricolor is celebrated by both nations.
Represented under the tent were those who gave brief addresses to welcome the Hermione and her wonderful crew. The Naval War College of Newport band played patriotic songs and anthems.
Following the requisite speeches and thanks to the sponsors of this momentous event of huge proportion, we left the tent, hoping for some air to cool our brows. There was not much of that unfortunately. The late afternoon sun was unrelenting. We knew we would be welcomed aboard the frigate, but would have to stand in line even as “guests” that we were, so we opted out due to the incredible heat.
Instead we posed for some photos by the masthead of the ship, a romping lion in coat of gold! This lion had led the way across the Atlantic in peace to make its way up the Atlantic seaboard from Yorktown, where the final battle was fought under the leadership of the stalwart General Rochambeau from France and his commander while in America, General George Washington.
Photo below with Hermione!
From left to right: David Beglan and his wife, Mary Conseur; my husband, John Lester Vail and moi.
Don’t we look cool??? Well, we are far from it. We are in fact, melting before your eyes, while trying to show a stiff upper lip. The Frigate, Hermione, is really cool however, proudly showing her colors held out by a tiny breeze that seems to have missed the four of us!
We finally left the dock at Fort Adams for the cool of our B&B, the Jailhouse Inn, where we showered and readied for a fine French repast in an air-conditioned restaurant. The four of us dined with David’s brother, Brigadier General (Ret) John L. Beglan an, Jr. his wife, Paquita; my daughter, Heather Woodring and my granddaughter, Jessie Woodring. We even had 2 Society of the Cincinnati families in our number.
That night we chose the four star French restaurant, Bouchard’s. We were seated comfortably at a round table and enjoyed each other’s company for at least 3 hours! The Dover Sole is beyond belief!
Stay tuned for the last segment of our inspiring Newport trip.