As statues come down around the world, a sleepy town in the center of Brittany, France saw a new Statue of Liberty installed in the heart of the city. Gourin and its 3,800 inhabitants had to be surprised while buying their baguettes this Wednesday morning as a handful of municipal workers lowered a 3 meter high replica of Lady Liberty unto a waiting stone pedestal without any fanfare nor celebration.
Gourin and the surrounding towns in the Morbihan have a strong connection to the United States as the region was part of the largest story of emigration in Western France over the last 120 years. Over 100,000 Bretons from the area crossed the Atlantic in search of the America dream with numbers peaking between 1950-1960. For many newcomers to Gourin the memories of this American history and connection were fading at the same rate as a small resin Statue of Liberty that no longer could weather the Breton winters. This original resin statue had been given by Air France to the city in 1986. Last summer, a crowdfunding campaign on Kengo was launched to finance a new bronze version of Lady Liberty that would renew Gourin's reputation as the American capital of Brittany. Over 300 donors generously participated in financing the 70k euros needed to caste a bronze statue of America's greatest symbol of democracy, justice, freedom and friendship with France. The global pandemic halted the planned delivery of the new statue delaying a planned ceremony that was schedule to take place in the early spring.
A new Breton symbol of friendship with the USA
History is usually written by the victors and the Breton story is very often absent from French history books. Brittany's place and historical connection with America is a unique one with a host of stories and individuals helping to unite both areas. An annual summer exposition by Bretagne Transamerica in Gourin highlights these stories from the American Revolution to modern times. The symbolism of a new statue to Breton and American friendship carries even greater weight today as many monuments' place and significance are being reconsidered and reevaluated. The new Statue of Liberty of Gourin opens a new chapter for greater relations and cooperation between Brittany and the USA while ensuring the preservation of the story of thousands of immigrants that struggled in the hopes of a brighter future. The pomp and ceremony that many expected for her arrival has been postponed due to the global pandemic but the mayor's office has stated that a special event is being planned for the latter half of 2020.
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6/27/2020 10:47:47 am
This story pulled my heartstrings as one American who can trace ancestry to France in my mother’s line which goes back 400 years. One of these was apparently une filles de roi who landed in Canada. Eventually family members went to New England. I hope to see Gourin and the statue in person someday.
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is an organization established to create, facilitate, promote, and sponsor wide-ranging innovative and collaborative cultural and economic projects that strengthen and foster relations and cooperation between the United States of America and the region of Brittany, France.