Ben Thrasher (07-14) had an unconventional summer. It began when Miles Young (63-72) invited him to help with a very interesting project…
“While most of my friends spent their summer backpacking around Southeast Asia or interning in a law office, my summer proved rather more unusual. It involved travelling along the American eastern seaboard with an 18th century French frigate replica and meeting the likes of Henry Kissinger and Bon Jovi, just to name a couple. My journey began when Miles Young asked me to help him with a project he was doing in all the ‘spare’ time he had as CEO and chairman of Ogilvy & Mather. Miles was the President of the Friends of Hermione Voyage 2015 which was a project dedicated to recreating the journey that French General Lafayette made to the U.S. eastern seaboard in 1780 conveying the news of French military support for the Americans in the War of Independence.
The Friends of Hermione organisation that Miles headed up undertook the mammoth task of totally reconstructing L’Hermione and sailing her from her home in Rochefort, France to the United States. The construction took nearly two decades and the arrival of the ship in America was greeted with huge celebration and pride. This is where my role came in. From its formal arrival in the tiny town in Yorktown, Virginia, through its journey to Alexandria, Annapolis, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Long Island, Rhode Island, Boston and Maine, I was given the task of assisting at the many ceremonies and events to honour the history of the ship, a role that proved far more interesting and diverse than I had ever envisaged. Perhaps the most memorable challenge I faced was trying to organise a wreath laying ceremony in Lafayette Square in front of the White House, which was an eye opening experience to say the least! In the end the ceremony carried off perfectly as did the entire voyage.
This summer could only be described as a series of character building events that were truly unforgettable. What an experience!”