On the Fourth of July, people gathered in Mount Kisco to honor a group that is re-enacting the march of French soldiers in the American Revolution, and to note the area's role in the alliance.
Guests made the village their latest stop in what is to be a journey to Yorktown, VA to commemorate the 1781 march of the Comte de Rochambeau, with 5,000 allied French soliders and, with George Washington and his American forces. The resulting battle, in October of that year, was a decisive victory over the British and helped end the war. During the journey - it began in Rhode Island and through Connecticut - on July 5, 1781, Washington met with Rochambeau, whose troops were camped in an area that is now bounded by Northern Westchester Hospital and Leonard Park. Monday's event was held next to a plaque near the hospital that marks the vicinity of that meeting.
The journey began last month in Rhode Island and marchers made their way through Connecticut, then stopping to camp on Rochambeau Farm, located on Guard Hill Road in Bedford.
At the event, a group of participants wearing period attire included 20-something volunteers from AmeriCorps' National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), as well as people from a group called The Marchers, which pays tribute to the journey to Yorktown. That journey, from Rhode Island to Virginia, was in 2009 by the National Park Service.
“We’re just trying to get more people involved and spread the word about the historic trail, and just connect to a new generation as well," said Amanda Skalicky, an NCCC volunteer from Paynesville, MN,
The ceremonies began with an introduction from André Ferrara, a Mount Kisco resident who is from France and is a French military veteran; several French war veterans were among the attendees. It followed with a reading of a letter from Philippe Lalliot, Counsul General of France, who congratulated marchers and wrote about Franco-American relations.
"It is indeed essential, today more than ever, to remind ourselves that we share the same ideals of democracy and human rights," he wrote.
Speaking, Mayor Michael Cindrich talked about the signifance of the help that the French gave in the revolution.
The event concluded with the playing of both countries' national anthems, La Marseillaise for France and The Star Spangled Banner for the United States.
The Marchers and NCCC volunteers plan to spend July 5-6 at the home of Bob Columbe, who lives near Chappaqua. They will at the Odell House in Hartsdale. Two more phases, with new groups of volunteers, will carry on the remainder of the trek to Yorktown, VA, according to Damon Rodnac, one of The Marchers.