City of Rochefort Gives a Unique Gift . . .

. . . to the Rochefort AHS Alumni Association.

In the City of Rochefort, France there stands what is known as the Arsenal Arch. It almost looks like a miniature version of Paris’ Arc d’Triumphe.

Since all of you are either French, military, brat or otherwise “brat-related,” I thought you would be interested in this little ditty, but first I need to give you some background information.

In the City of Rochefort, France there stands what is known as the Arsenal Arch. It almost looks like a miniature version of Paris’ Arc d’Triumphe. It served as the entrance to the Army base there during the time Rochefort AHS was in existence. Reportedly its history goes back to when Napoleon used the area as an arsenal.

I guess you could say it was a landmark for us and the Rochefort AHS Alumni Association. has used it as its symbol.

Bringing lumps to our throats and tears stinging our eyes was the American flag waving proudly in the cool breeze among beautiful blue skies atop the Arsenal Arch when 50 alumni, friends and family gathered in Rochefort for our reunion and return to the city recognizing the 40th anniversary of the closing of Rochefort AHS! It was totally unexpected!

You may already know (so I hope not to bore you) that while we were there the City of Rochefort went out of its way to make us feel welcome. Among other things, they arranged a visit to our old school building, a tour of the reconstruction site of l’Hermione (the frigate on which Lafayette sailed from Rochefort to the Colonies to inform the Colonists that the French were coming to their aid in the war with Britain for their independence), a visit with the Mayor of the City of Rochefort, and the wedding of two former alumni who had been high school sweethearts. The whole atmosphere could not have been more hospitable and friendly.

And now the crowning apex of it all. In today’s mail we received a most generous and unique gift from the City of Rochefort‹the American flag which was flying atop the Arsenal Arch! (Yep! There comes the lump in my throat and tears stinging my eyes again! The memory of seeing that flag will always remain within my heart!)

Ultimately the flag will be a part of the American Overseas Schools Historical Society museum currently being established in Wichita, Kansas. Until that time it will remain with the alumni group and be displayed at Homecoming ’99 in Grapevine, TX and at Rochefort’s next reunion in Seattle in 2000.

I just thought I would share this happy moment with you.


Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Miilitary Brats Online in 1997.

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1 Comment
  1. Dear Pat,

    Viewing the arch in Rochefort to the military installation brought tears to my eyes.  My husband was stationed there in 1960-62.  We lived in Rochefort and Fouras.  Wonderful memories.  Wonderful people we met in the service and wonderful French friends we met while living there and will cherish always.  

    Congratulations on the flag and a heartfelt thanks to the mayor and others who welcomed the students.

    Rita Williams

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