Your editorial 'A fitting tribute' (Saturday June 23, 2012) was itself a very fitting tribute, not just to the superb artist Lennie Gallant, but also to the children, parents and grandparents of Rustico who have struggled for more than a generation to secure the return, first, of French language education to the greater Rustico area, and then the building of a "centre scolaire-communautaire" – in the heart of historic vieux Rustico.
Many of those parents, like Lennie, grew up in English and, again as he did, sought to recover their French Acadian roots – for themselves and for their children.
I had the great honour of the presenting the Order of Merit to Lennie Gallantlast Saturday, along with my daughter, Nadine, who sang the school song that Lennie and the students composed. The song – sung to Lennie and in the presence of the lieutenant-governor, the Honourable Frank Lewis, at the general assembly of the Société Saint-Thomas-d'Aquin – ends with the lyrics (translated loosely):
Let us sing / as children of Acadie
We are proud of who we are / And of the French that we speak here
Your editorial was a testament to everything we have sought to achieve – often in the face of considerable opposition and adversity.
I am delighted that our community is uniting so strongly around the new Centre acadien Grand-Rustico. I am equally delighted and grateful that Lennie has contributed so much to the embracing of and celebration of our Island's proud Acadian heritage.
I was touched that Lennie brought his daughter to the revival of the Père Belcourt's community picnic to celebrate the Feast of Saint John the Baptist on Sunday, June 24 – a tradition that predates the current Acadian National Feast Day of Aug. 15. A simple act perhaps – yet one that clearlydemonstrates just how deep Lennie's roots are in the dark red soil along Rustico Bay – soil well shaded by the Farmer's Bank of Rustico and the spire of the second oldest active church in all of Prince Edward Island.
Thank you for your words, your sentiments and your encouragement.
Conseil acadien de Rustico