Joan of Arc, savior of … Laurelhurst, in Portland?

Joan of Arc is one of history’s great, inspiriational figures and a saint beloved by the French. She was a poor woman, born in a violent era of never-ending war. In this male-dominated world, she rose to become one of the most revered military strategists (celebrated at West Point) and a religious icon at the same time for helping save the Kingdom of France from disintegrating. She was burned at the stake at the young age of 19, having accomplished more in a short life than most of us can even dream of.

She inspired others to action. She took bold and decisive action. She used her wits repeatedly to challenge more powerful groups and opponents around her. And she remained passionately committed to her vision that many claim was inspired by either religious visions or psychological disorders.

She famously said, “Better today than tomorrow, better tomorrow than the day after.” She also is remembered by her words, “go forth boldly.” (See an article I wrote about Joan in 2013 on my policy and ideas blog.)

Joan also is feted at a major traffic circle in Portland at Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Glisan, in the upscale Laurelhurst neighborhood. This statue honoring the “Maid of Orleans” was commissioned and bequeathed to the city by Dr. Henry Waldo Coe in 1924. It is a replica of an original by French sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet, at the Place de Rivoli in Paris. So this is yet another thing I never knew existed here before, when I lived in Portland in the 1980s, though I was too busy then to discover the city.

Well, I say, I am glad Joan is riding her prancing steed through my fair city. Watch out dull-witted, arrogant occupiers. We have the saint to protect and save us. Never underestimate a strong mind with a clear purpose. You will be overcome if you do. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

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