October 29, 2007

Editor Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian

Our goal is the creation and stewardship of the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail that passes through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and the elevation to a higher level the quality of heritage preservation all along the route. This newsletter tries to represent the point of view of the patriots who respected Washington and Rochambeau, the ones who, if alive, would be working with us to honor them.

The Senate Super Bill

S686 has been hobbled by being kept among 20 other NPS bills trapped in a super-bill, S.2180. Three other NPS bills including the Star Spangled Trail have already been broken free and have passed this year. The Star Spangled Trail study was started two years after our W3RNHT study bill.

1000 Bills from the 110th Congress now stand ranked by relevance within super-bill “S.2180 “. Here is a sampling with the W3RNHT ranked 120:
# 1 . For the relief of Alexandrea S. Banks Desutter and Nicholas S. Banks Desutter. (Introduced in Senate)[S.1127.IS]
#51 . To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 11 Central Street in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, as the `Officer Jeremy Todd Charron Post Office’. (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by Senate)[S.1896.ES]
#120. Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail Designation Act (Reported in Senate)[S.686.RS]
#1000. Natural Resource Protection Cooperative Agreement Act (Introduced in Senate)[S.241.IS]

Last Week Senator Joseph Lieberman’s Staff Reported:
“I just wanted to let you know that the Senator signed a petition to invoke cloture on the package of bills that includes W3R yesterday (S.2180). I anticipate that cloture will be filed on the bill today forcing a vote on the package early next week. So it looks like we’ll pass the W3R in the Senate prior to the French President’s visit.” Marcy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy Visiting Next Week
French President Nicolas Sarkozy assumed office 16 May 2007. In a recent visit of Mr. Bernard Kouchner the French minister of Foreign and European affairs to the United States he underlined the exceptional relationship between France and the United States based on the shared common values of freedom and democracy, in the context of a renewed transatlantic partnership. President Nicolas Sarkozy recently said he admired opportunities for advancement in American irrespective of class or background.

“You can have a name like Schwarzenegger and be governor of California. You can be called Colin Powell or Condi Rice, and succeed.”

He will be visiting the United States in early November and that would be the opportune time for the signing into law the creation of the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, National Historic Trail.

House Subcommittee Has Hearing to Move Bill HR1286 Tomorrow
On Tuesday, October 30, at 10:00 AM the House Subcommittee On National Parks, Forests And Public Lands will hold a Legislative Hearing on Eleven Bills, the third one being HR1286. James M. Johnson, Ph.D. the first Executive Director of the first National W3R Committee, and retired professor of history at the United States Military Academy at West Point, will provide testimony on H.R.1286. The hearing will be webcast live on the Committee’s Web site at:
[Click on the VIEW LIVE WEBCASTS link on the left]

Last Week Congressman Joe Courtney said:
“I am pleased to be a cosponsor of H.R. 1286, which was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee. Indeed, General Rochambeau’s army marched through many of the towns in eastern Connecticut. Designating the route would distinguish the extensive corridor that physically represents the colonies’ ambitious quest to unite for the Revolutionary War.”

Today CT. State Representative Pamela Sawyer said:
“Lets see if they can do a quick turnaround time. Cross your fingers”.
Referring to the effort Representative Sawyer is making with Connecticut Governor Rell to call the W3R Governors and Congressional Delegation’s attention to the immediate need to expedite the W3RNHT legislation.

Compelling Reasons for Passing the W3RNHT
The reasons why we need the passage of Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (HR1286 and S686) are so compelling that we are prone to believe these bills can sell and pass themselves. We have become complacent and now risk losing everything we have fought for if these bills remain stalled. It is important that Congress act at once to bring it to a wonderful conclusion and have the bill signed into law before French President Nicolas Sarkozy leaves us in November.

Nine critical states needed to actively support
Senate (S686) and House (HR1286) versions

The W3RNHT will grow the corridor’s economy by allowing intelligent and directed efforts that build on the natural synergies that connect our museums, festivals, theaters, historic homes, cultural events, theme parks with shopping and lodging thereby creating destination experiences. One of the benefits is sharing the cultural richness and deep heritage of the W3RNHT corridor with visitors and residents. It will increasingly attract international tourism.

The development of a tourism route along the Revolutionary Road is a linkage that by proxy will allow each state to share the benefits of the heritage of the other states along the route. It will be a national trail with the exquisite Newport mansions of Rhode Island at one end and historic Williamsburg and Yorktown at the other. Each state will have major benefits from this partnership and it will open up not only American tourism, but also most certainly foreign tourism.

It is expected that each of the nine states will have a Community Center, Library and tourism center at an important site along the W3RNHT. The Congressional Delegations of these states know each other and represent a bipartisan voice of the states. They are urgently needed as co-sponsors to convince other in the House, Senate, and Executive branch of the need to act on the W3RNHT.

Partnerships and synergies yield W3R accountability:

  • In the 1990’s Congress allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to infrastructure, most notably the levies around New Orleans. There was no accountability and New Orleans was later flooded.
  • The partners supporting the W3RNHT represent different interests and provide checks and balances needed for accountability.
  • The annual NPS funding needed to manage the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, National Historic Trail is only about $300,000 per year because partnerships are in place. NPS site:http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkId=213&projectId=14264&documentID=17129
  • A private non-profit organization was established in 2003 to coordinate W3RNHT efforts: http://www.w3r-us.org/home.htm
  • The town localities and states work together to share expenses and to provide matching funds for private contributions. Similarly the towns and Federal Agencies have partnerships. These are usually accomplished through grants to the localities. This partnership is growing in historical, cultural, and now in economic directions. At some point the cultural and historical re-enactor activities will need to be coordinated along the path. At this time many cultural and historical organizations are just beginning to inform one other, but eventually there will be a need for coordination through the tourism districts to reap the benefits of heritage conservation.

Strategic Considerations for Passage of the Bills:
There is a need to assure Senators and Congressmen that the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, National Historic Trail is a sound and frugal investment in one of the oldest of American road infrastructures. It is our American heritage. What makes us American and interesting is what makes us all different yet united in our desire to sustain the American values that were so well demonstrated by the founding fathers during the War for Independence. In 2000 the W3RNHT study bill passed unanimously in both Houses.

Not just rock earth water and sky, the W3RNHT is about culture and American values of liberty, democracy, our first international alliance, mutual respect and pursuit of happiness. Synergies already exist to promote, develop and grow cultural venues and attractions throughout the W3RNHT corridor and ensure federal, state, local and private funds continue to be wisely invested in that effort. New Synergies will bring together the related fields of French and American arts, tourism, culture, and history under one umbrella of the W3RNHT. It is time for the congressional delegations of the nine contiguous states along the W3RNHT to take new leadership roles co-sponsoring the bills to help assure that the W3RNHT comes into existence very soon this year.

America’s first Military Alliance
In a recent memorial Service, Serge Gabriel, W3R Association New England Vice-President spoke about the Eight French soldiers who died in Van Cortlandville in 1782.

The great majority of soldiers and sailors who died during the American Revolution died from diseases and infections resulting from the difficult and primitive conditions under which they lived and fought. When the French Army returned they usually chose new camp sites for fear that small pox and other contagion infected the earlier camp sites. Serge reminded everyone that the French sent their forces to support American rebel forces from 1778 and into 1783 and many died on our soil and in the supply and logistics required supporting the forces on the ground and sea.

“You did not come alone. In 1780 the Rochambeau Army landed in Newport, Rhode Island, with 5,500 soldiers and officers. In 1778, there was also Admiral d’Estaing with his fleet, and some 4,000 soldiers strong, who were the first to respond to the call to help our revolutionary forces after their victory at Saratoga in 1777 and who fought at Savannah in 1779, with losses of 300 men! Finally, there was admiral de Grasse who in September 1781 brought to the Chesapeake his 24 ship-of-the-line fleet with 3,500 soldiers of St. Simon’s army.

Altogether, the French Forces who came to America’s help total more than 2,000 sailors and 12,000 soldiers for the 5-year period 1778 to 1782. In total, out of 44,000 sailors and soldiers, over 5,000 died for our Independence. Therefore, it is with heartfelt gratitude that today we commemorate here these lives, sacrificed 225 years ago, so that we may live in a great country with liberty and justice for all.”

It takes just ten minutes to contact your Congressman or Senator

  • Google their names plus the word contact (e.g. Congressman Christopher Shays contact).
  • Click on their web sites.
  • Fill in their e-mal forms with your request that they co-sponsor the bills.Tell them why in your words.
  • Send it to them