ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- A large crowd braved the heat and humidity June 16 to welcome to Annapolis a replica of the 18th century French frigate L'Hermione.
L'Hermione was the ship that carried the Marquis de Lafayette from Rochefort, France, to Boston in 1780 with the welcome news that the French were sending arms, ships and men to help the colonists fight the British.
The symbolic return of L'Hermione pays homage to Lafayette and this historic relationship between France and the U.S.
"To see the Hermione here is really the representation of the legacy of great maritime nations," said U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter.
Carter participated in the opening ceremony at City Dock, along with the mayors of Annapolis and Rochefort, representatives from the French Embassy, and other dignitaries.
Carter said that to some, L'Hermione represents the quality of freedom and America's enduring friendship with one of its oldest allies.
"We have a strong connection with our United States Naval Academy and the naval academy of France," he said. "We have a wonderful international exchange program here, and this year we will be welcoming another French student for a four-year matriculation."
Carter took part in the subsequent wreath-laying ceremony at the French American Revolution monument at St. John's College. The monument honors the French soldiers who gave their lives during the American Revolution.
L'Hermione sailed 3,819 miles to reach Yorktown, Virginia, where she began her journey up the East Coast. The trip across the Atlantic took 27 days.
L'Hermione will continue travelling up the eastern seaboard, stopping in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Greenport, Newport, Boston, Castine, and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, before heading home to France.
For more news from U.S. Naval Academy, visit www.navy.mil/local/usna/.