Metz celebrates the Sixtieth Anniversary of its Liberation with the 20 November 2004 Inauguration of an equestrian statue to honor Lafayette.
It was at Metz, in 1775, that the Marquis de La Fayette decided to commit himself to the cause of American Independence, leading to his sailing in 1777 to join the American forces, where he distinguished himself as well as becoming one of the dominant symbols of French aid to the American War for Independence.
In September 1919, the American Association of the Knights of Columbus sponsored providing the city of Metz an equestrian statue of LaFayette "to commemorate the fraternal participation of France to the foundation of the United State (1775-1783) and to imprtalize the sacrifice of the glorious French and American soldiers who died on the battlefields of Liberty, in 1914-1918." In August 1920 one of the famous equestrian statues of Lafayette by the American sculptor P.W. Bartlett, was inaugurated in the Square Boufflers of Metz, near the very place where Lafayette stood in 1775 at the Governor's Palace. In 1941, during the Nazi occupation, the statue was torn down. In 1945, after the Liberation of Metz, the Third American Army and the American Legion restored the mutilated pedestal.

In July 1983, a group of American and Lorrain friend-cyclists decided to initate a restoration of the statue. The initative has finally been realized due to the action of the city's mayor, supported by the Municipalité de Metz, the Conseil Régional de Lorraine, the Comité La Fayette, and the associations of La Fayette Society and La Fayette Riders.

On the cold Saturday evening of 20 November 2004 the citizens of Metz were joined by American friends (many veterans of World War II) to celebrate the occasion. Among the attendees was a grand daughter of General Patton.
The occasion was also a tribute to the French scluptor of the dynamic new statue, Messin Claude Goutin [at left with model of his work].
More information can be obtained from the following webpages:

The Metz's sponsored page on the inauguration at:
http://www.mairie-metz.fr/METZ/HIST/LIBER/60ANS/inauguration.html

Background page [English text] at: Notes on Some Lafayette Monuments.

Return to webpage on ANNOUNCEMENTS of COMMEMORATIVE EVENTS.


Page created 1 December 2004, revised 5 December 2005.