Experience the American dream with today’s Patriots of the Past interview. I’m your host, John Gillespie.
It’s December 19, 1777. I’m at the elegant home of General Marquis de Lafayette. The Marquis’ wife is throwing a Christmas party for French diplomats.
JG: “Madame de Lafayette, thank you for inviting me to your party, but where is the Marquis?”
ML: “Oh, you’re welcome. The Marquis is in winter camp with General Washington. He asked me to have this party to show my French compatriots that America is capable of defeating the English. Viva la liberte and merry Christmas, Mr. Gillespie!”
The French were eventually convinced of our ability to defeat the English and became our allies on our road to freedom.
In LaFayette, Georgia, the General Lafayette historical marker reads, “Marie Jean Paul Roch Yves Gilbert Motier Marquis de LaFayette (1757-1834) was born in the Castle of Chavagnac, in Auvergne, France. He entered the French Army early in life and, in 1777, came to America and volunteered for service in the Revolutionary Army. Congress made him a Major General. He became a close friend of General George Washington, was wounded at Brandywine, suffered a winter at Valley Forge, and distinguished himself in the Yorktown campaign.
“In 1824, he revisited America, including Georgia. Congress voted him $200,000 and a township of land. He died in Paris. This city is proudly named for him.”
John and Jan Gillespie are the founders of the Rawhide Boys’ Ranch; they have fostered 351 teenagers and wrote the book Our 351 Sons; they have also assisted numerous churches in developing youth programs and expanding their total church ministries. After running for U.S. Senate, John founded 1776 American Dream, which exists to demonstrate the vision of our founding fathers and help our generation of youth passionately embrace those values.