Acadian effort in France will never be forgotten

Eric McCarthy
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WELLINGTON - Abram-Village resident Alfred Arsenault returned home from an Acadian celebration in Saint-Aubin-sur-mer, France in August with many fond memories and three special mementoes.
The mementoes are gifts from the mayor of Saint-Aubin-sur-mer for war veterans from the Wellington Legion. They are glass depictions of Canadian maple leaves inscribed with the names of three Wellington veterans.

Alfred Arsenault, centre, presents veterans Ned DesRoches, left, and Tilman J. Arsenault with mementoes given to him by the mayor of Saint-Aubin-sur-mer, France. The mementoes were given to Arsenault during an Acadian celebration in the French town where

WELLINGTON - Abram-Village resident Alfred Arsenault returned home from an Acadian celebration in Saint-Aubin-sur-mer, France in August with many fond memories and three special mementoes.
The mementoes are gifts from the mayor of Saint-Aubin-sur-mer for war veterans from the Wellington Legion. They are glass depictions of Canadian maple leaves inscribed with the names of three Wellington veterans.
Arsenault presented the mementoes to veterans Ned DesRoches, Tilman J. Arsenault and Tilman C. Arsenault during Remembrance Day service Wednesday at the Legion.
"It's not the dollar value," Arsenault said in describing the gifts; "it comes from the heart."
It was at Saint-Aubin-sur-mer, at the eastern end of Nan Sector of Juno Beach that New Brunswick's North Shore regiment stormed the beaches at the start of the Battle of Normandy in June 1944.
For the past few years the people of Saint-Aubin-sur-mer have been holding an annual celebration honouring the Acadians' role in the Battle of Normandy. This year a group from the Evangeline region attended, including Arsenault and his wife, Diane.
Others included fiddler Brandon Arsenault and dancer Chantel DesRoches, who went as Acadian ambassadors Gabriel and Evangeline; Jeanette Blacquiere from the Agricultural Exhibition, Fr. Eloi Arsenault, and several entertainers and politicians. Arsenault represented the Acadian Festival, the Wellington Legion and Club Richelieu.
"It's just amazing what kind of respect they have for the veterans, for Canadians," Arsenault said.
"We were received like kings and queens."
Fr. Arsenault presented a slide show of the Saint-Aubin-sur-mer celebrations during Wednesday's program.
A highlight of the visit for Alfred Arsenault was meeting an 88 year-old resident who lived through the German occupation and the liberation effort at Saint-Aubin-sur-mer. He and seven others hid out in a hole in the ground on the family's farm.
"He was there on the sixth of June, 1944," Arsenault noted.
The young French farmer looked up from his hiding place and saw a pair of boots that he knew were not German. "I yelled and the person (who) answered me was French," Arsenault quoted the farmer.
The New Brunswick liberator advised them it was still unsafe to emerge, but he returned later and helped them out.

Geographic location: Saint-Aubin, France, Abram-Village New Brunswick Normandy Juno Beach North Shore

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