By Kevin Shannahan
The people buried in Natchitoches’ American Cemetery represent a broad swath of our area’s history, from its earliest days through the present. Several people who fought in the American Revolution are among them. The Natchitoches chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and the St. Denis chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution joined together with over 20 community members and fellow Veterans to honor one such patriot, Antoine Prudhomme, on Oct. 29.
A color guard of SAR members in period uniforms presented the flag after which Charles McNeely, President of the Natchitoches SAR chapter, gave a talk with details of Antoine Prudhomme’s life. The Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution placed wreathes on his grave as did a representative of his family. A black cloth was removed from the gravestone to reveal a bronze marker from the DAR and SAR marking his grave as that of a Revolutionary War Veteran.
Antoine Prudhomme fought for this nation when it was just an idea, opposed by the greatest empire of the time. Over two hundred years later, his descendants joined present day Veterans in honoring a man who answered he challenge posed by Samuel Adams in his speech to the Philadelphia State House “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace…” He did not go home. Like his brothers at Concord, Lexington, Yorktown and hundreds of battles and skirmishes, he chose the animating contest of freedom. He is a tangible link to the founders of this nation.