This same year, my ancestor William Downard joined the revolution, which continued for several more years. With France’s support, the “Patriots” were finally victorious. The war ended finally in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.
After the war, William Downard started in the whiskey business. In 1795, he moved to Kentucky, where I would be born several generations later. Here, two French brothers began creating a new style of whiskey aged in charred oak barrels – a technique used to age cognac for centuries. This new style of whiskey became very popular with the French living in New Orleans, where it became known as “bourbon whiskey.”
My family has proudly honored the French American alliance in the centuries since La Fayette. Whether it was my grandfather landing on Omaha Beach in 1944, or working for the U.S. State Department in the 2010s, working hand-in-hand with France on critical issues such as climate change or Middle East peace negotiations.