It is true in this House of Representatives, what we call the People's House, there are only two portraits. There could be more, but there are only two. We honor George Washington and we honor Lafayette. And there are reasons for that; because both of these men were not only friends, but they were resilient in their quest for American liberty many, many years ago.
One evening in 1776, at the dinner table with King George III's relatives, the Marquis de Lafayette got wind of America's Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson and the trouble the colonists were making for the British--all in the name of liberty.
Facing disapproval from his Noble family and arrest by his own French people, young Lafayette sailed to America. He volunteered to serve at his own expense in the Continental Army with General George Washington. Lafayette was a superior military tactician, and he was fearless. Only in his late 20s, Major General Lafayette went to war with the American colonists.
He was wounded in the battle at Brandywine, he defeated the Hessians alongside General Greene at Gloucester Point, and he stayed faithful to Washington when even some American discontented generals thought they could do a better job than George Washington.
It was Lafayette who persuaded the French to help the Americans in their fight for freedom. And Lafayette never lost his place alongside Washington and his ragged Continental Army. That is one reason we have his portrait in this House.
Lafayette remained a passionate advocate for the cause of freedom until his death, and stood firm in the French Revolution. So much so that at one point he suffered imprisonment for 5 years in Austria and Prussia because of his quest for liberty in France.
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to honor a man who paid both blood and money on two continents for the sake of liberty. As loyal as he remained to Washington and the United States throughout his life, so the people of our great Nation remain indebted to his sacrifice, his courage and his loyalty, and to the example of his unwavering commitment to freedom.
In troubled times, America could always count on Marquis de Lafayette.