Thursday, December 13, 2007

Today is Acadian Remembrance Day. This morning Stephen White asked if I would post the following to my AFC Roots Web list. I wish I had also thought to post it here sooner but the day has not ended so I am sharing his message with you now.

"Today is the anniversary of the sinking of the Duke William in 1758, the event that took the greatest number of Acadian lives at a single stroke of all the tragedies of the Grand Dérangement. Three hundred sixty-two Acadians perished on that vessel. The Duke William went down just one day after the sinking of the Violet, in which around another 280 Acadians lost their lives, and on the sixteenth a third transport, the Ruby, ran aground in the Azores, killing over 200 more. The three wrecks thus carried off in the space of four days in December 1758 some 850 Acadians.

To mark this terrible series of events, and to commemorate as well all those who lost their lives during the Grand Dérangement, the Fédération des associations de familles acadiennes has held ceremonies each December 13th since 2003. Today these ceremonies take place between noon and one p.m. at the City Hall in Dieppe, N. B.

All who can are cordially invited to attend. For those who are unable to do so, it is recommended that they set aside a few moments to reflect upon the tragedy that befell the Acadian people between 1755 and 1763, and particularly upon the fates of those who did not survive the catastrophes of that period. It is hoped that in time Acadian descendants everywhere will observe this date, to remember those who died, just as they now observe August 15th, to remember those who survived.

As part of today's program, I will say a few words about the victims of the smallpox epidemic that carried off over 300 Acadians in Québec City between November 1757 and February 1758. Just 250 years ago this plague was at its height, and the priests at Notre-Dame were burying six to eight Acadians each and every day.

It is worth pointing out that the segment of the Acadian population that suffered the most from these trials was that of the children. Of the 222 Acadians who died at Québec City between November and December 1757, 145 were children and adolescents."

So the day has not ended and there enough of the day left to remember all of the Acadians who perished while being exiled from their homeland.

For those of you who are catholic today is the feast of St. Lucy. St. Lucy was a victim of the persecutions of Diocletian in whose honor the celebrants of today's Masses are permitted to wear scarlet instead of the usual Advent purple colors. Isn't it appropriate that the colors with which we remember a Martyr is on the day chosen to remember the Acadian martyrs who died during the Deportation?

Christmas will soon be here. In the middle of all of the sights, sounds and hubbub of Christmas, let us be good to ourselves and spend some quiet time anticipating what Christmas is really all about.


Your cousin Lucie


REbecca said...

Lucie, many thanks for the reminder of "Duke Williams" tragedy. I have forwarded to my family as we begin of document and realize the lives of our Acadian ancestors.

Rebecca Benoit

Rebecca said...

Lucie, thanks for the remembrance of "Duke Wiliams" events. I have forwarded to my family (Benoit)as we document and see the past come alive.

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I never realized that December the 13th was a special remembrance day. Thanks for the information.
I will be sure to commemorate it in some way on the next December 13th. Maybe if we think about it ahead of time we could organize something among everyone who is blooging about Acadians!
Evelyn in Montreal

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

Next year I think you should remind everyone about December 13th ahead of time so that we can all post in recognition of the day.
Evelyn in Montreal