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The year could have been 1780 on this July 4th, at least when you were looking out on the Hudson from New York Harbor. The Hermione, or L’Hermione, an authentic replica of the ship that brought the Marquis de Lafayette and news of France’s support back to America 235 years ago, led a parade of commercial and private ships from Gravesend Bay all the way up the river in celebration of Independence Day.
The ship was docked at South Street Seaport’s Pier 15 in the days leading up to the parade and there were long lines of visitors to board her there.
Lafayette, who fought in the Revolutionary War as a teen, and became a close friend of George Washington. He returned to France to lobby for the American cause and finally convinced the French King to send military support. After he made his way back to America aboard the Hermione, Lafayette greeted Washington with the now-famous words “Here I am, My Dear General.”