Order of Lafayette
The Order of Lafayette is a
patriotic, hereditary, nonpartisan, and fraternal organization that was
established in New York City in 1958 by Colonel Hamilton Fish (1888-1991), a
distinguished Congressman from New York and decorated veteran of the First
World War. The Order's patron is the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834), the
French officer who served with honor, distinction, and bravery alongside the
"Father of Our Country," General George Washington (1732-1799) during the
American Revolution. Its principles are "God, Unity, Peace Honor."
A serving officer of the famed 369th Regiment ("The Harlem Hellfighters"), New
York Army National Guard, Colonel Fish founded the Order of Lafayette as a
society to give recognition to all commissioned officers of the United States
Armed Forces, male or female, who served in France during World War I, or in
France or French possessions during World War II. It also includes United
States officers who served in France during World War I in the Lafayette
Escadrille Flying Corps, the American Field Service, or with the Allies.
Military service in France includes participating in an invasion or flight
within the coastal areas of France or French possessions.
American enlisted men who served in France or in French possessions during
World War I or World War II, and who were commissioned later are also eligible
for membership in the Order of Lafayette, as well as commissioned officers and
non-commissioned officers of the French Foreign Legion.
Membership in the order is also open to all recipients, regardless of rank, of
the Congressional medal of Honor or the French Medaille Militaire who served
in France or French possessions during World War I or World War II, and are
admitted as members without having to pay dues to the Order.
All lineal descendants, male or female, of original members, or those who
would have qualified as original members, are eligible for full membership in
the Order on reaching the age of twenty-one years.
The Order participates in a number of patriotic activities, such as the annual
Armistice Day Memorial Mass at Saint Vincent de Paul's R.C. Church held in
November in New York City, the Graduation Convocation of the United States
Military Academy at West Point, NY, where the Order of Lafayette Award is
given to a distinguished graduate, social and cultural gatherings to promote a
better understanding, spirit of cooperation and support for the betterment of
French and American relations, the beautiful and inspiring "Massing of the
Colors" ceremony in Autumn, and other annual events conducted under the
auspices of the Order.
Membership in the Order of Lafayette entitles one to wear the beautiful
enameled medal of the Order, made by Arthus Betrand of Paris, France, which is
a white cross that bears a profile of the Marquis de Lafayette in its center
surrounded by laurel leaves, as well as the membership rosette that is worn on
The flag of the Order of Lafayette was designed by Mr. Kenneth A. Menken. It
is based on the French Tricolor, but with thirteen stars and the Order of
Lafayette's insignia added to it. The flag recall's France's tremendous
contributions to the struggle for American independence during the American
Revolution, and at the same time, America's valiant defense of freedom on
French soil during two titanic conflicts, the First and Second World Wars.
For further information on the Order, or to seek membership in its honored
ranks, please contact LITC Bruce A. Laue, President General of the Order of
Vive la France! God bless America!
Brother Denis P. McGowan is
a dedicated fraternalist and student of the history of American fraternal