Valley Forge National Historical Park and the Washington Memorial Chapel - with support from the Friends of Valley Forge - will celebrate French Alliance Day May 6, which is Sunday.
The day will include a ranger-led illustrated program, a special program for children, a wreath laying ceremony, historical reenactors and living-history demonstrations.
At 12:30 p.m., Park Ranger Bill Lange will give a PowerPoint talk in the Education Center about the events leading up to the May 6, 1778, celebration at Valley Forge when Washington’s army heard the news of the Franco-American Alliance. The alliance meant financial, military and naval support from the French, which changed the course of the Revolutionary War.
At 1:45 p.m. in the Education Center, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, played by Rob Carroll, will present a special program for children. He will share stories, song and drama and tell how he grew to" influence the teamwork and friendship of two countries."
At 2:45, a wreath-laying ceremony will be held across from the Washington Memorial Chapel at the Waterman Monument, in memory of the French and American soldiers who gave their lives during the American Revolution. A military representative of the Embassy of France will be escorted by a color guard of the First Troop, Philadelphia City Cavalry, the oldest cavalry unit in the United States Army. The French representative will also inspect an element of the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment of the Continental Line during the ceremony. The Washington Memorial National Carillon will play 18th century French music following the ceremony.
At 3:45, the public is invited to witness a conversation in the Education Center between Dr. Franklin and the Marquis de Lafayette as portrayed by Ben Goldman. Lafayette was a French royal who volunteered his military skills to George Washington’s Continental Army and the American cause. Though Franklin and Lafayette were correspondents in their day, they never visited face to face, and this will be their chance for a meeting of the minds.
During the day, park rangers and volunteers at Muhlenberg’s Brigade will discuss how the French supported the American Revolution with arms, uniforms and equipment and set a new standard for the Continental Army with the Charleville musket.