Today, Joan of Arc turned 600 years old. Or she would have, if she hadn’t been burned at the stake at the tender age of 19.
What do you get the warrior maiden who has everything? In the District, you get that girl a sword.
That’s what the Jeanne d’Arc statue in Meridian Hill Park received at the end of last year in anticipation of her sixth centennial.
Her sword went missing several years ago, but the Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association successfully lobbied the National Park Service for a replacement, arriving in time for the big birthday.
The statue might seem an odd choice for Washington, D.C., but it represents yet another tie between France and America in the nation’s capital.
Almost a century ago, it was donated to the women of the United States by the women of France – more specifically, by the organization Le Lyceum Société des Femmes de France.
It’s a bronze replica of the iconic statue in front of Reims Cathedral outside Paris.
In France, the Maid of Orléans has never suffered the indignity of leading a charge on horseback without her weapon.
Our version was installed with great fanfare at the summit of the once swanky Meridian Hill Park on January 6, 1922 – Joan’s 510th birthday.
Click here for some really old newsreel of the statue’s unveiling, with President Harding and his wife in attendance.Bon anniversaire, Jeanne!