L'Hermione replica retraces the voyage of a French warship sent to help American rebels during the Revolutionary War. Vanessa Johnston reports.
As the U.S. prepares to celebrate its independence from Britain on July 4th... ...a visit from the French war ship that helped make it possible -- a replica that is. L'Hermione sailed into New York City Wednesday to mark the Atlantic voyage in 1780... When France's Marquis de Lafayette came to tell George Washington, commander of the Revolutionary army, that France was sending a military force to help them. Miles Young is president of Friends of the Hermione-Lafayette in America. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MILES YOUNG, PRESIDENT OF FRIENDS OF THE HERMIONE-LAFAYETTE IN AMERICA, SAYING: "It was a kind of tipping point in history. So thanks to this ship there is independence." Before setting sail, the replica ship had been under construction since 1997 and cost $27 million U.S. dollars to build. Captain Yann Cariou says it made several stops along the way, including Baltimore and Philadelphia. (SOUNDBITE) (English) L'HERMIONE CAPTAIN YANN CARIOU, SAYING: "It was a great voyage, a good season of course." On the fourth of July, the Hermione will lead nearly 100 ships past the Statue of Liberty -- a gift from the French people -- in a patriotic salute.