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Franco-American Day Committee

Monument

The Franco-American Monument was dedicated on June 24th 1974, La Saint-Jean-Baptiste. It is located in front of the City Hall. It was erected “in memory of all Franco-Americans of the past who helped to build Lowell, to those of the present who are continuing a well and cherished heritage and to all Franco-Americans of the future who will help to keep Lowell the great city that it is”.

(Quotation taken from the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary, Franco-American Festival Week program book, June 1995.)

The following signed narrative is also taken from the 25th Anniversary book.

Silver Jubilee of the Franco-American Day Committee

Unlike a woman who reaches her age of responsibility at 18, an organization seems to rise to a special level of maturity when it celebrates its 25th. Like the young woman who can face her future by considering her first years, the Committee can reflect on its first quarter of a century with much pride and in fact could look forward to brilliance similar to its past.

Although the Feast of Saint John the Baptiste has been celebrated since the arrival of Father Garin, OMI, at Lowell in 1867, the Committee was a kind of re-examination of the objectives which Franco-Americans always embraced in underscoring the beauty, the wealth and diversity of its cultural heritage.

It was in 1971 that a group of Franco-Americans decided to reconsecrate itself to the expression of the same heritage and leadership of Councilor Armand LeMay. June 24th was officially designated as Franco-American Day. It was this gentleman who was the Founder and First President of the Committee. From the very first year, the Committee stressed the musical tradition of Franco-Americans by inviting Mr. Gerard Brunelle in a performance at the Banquet and Mr. George A. Ayotte, former mayor of Lowell, to lead a sing-along with the 600 guests. This musical wealth was continued by “L’Equipe du Bon Vieux Temps” and “La Chorale Orion”, whose reputation never ceases to grow because of the exceptional quality of its concerts, its theatrical productions and religious programs. Many other artists came to Lowell to perform before a knowledgeable audience.

The literary tradition of Franco-American Lowell was also valued by the Committee in many instances by supporting the launching of books written by our own. It also sponsored an illustrated conference and several Tours of the City on the writings of Jack Kerouac. This lofty custom continues till now.

The Franco-American leaders in 1971 were the first in this city to erect lasting signs of our involvement in American life, such as the monument dedicated to the Franco-Americans. Others followed and will follow, I am sure.

The bond that ties Franco-Americans to their religion is unquestioned: we expressed our religious devotion many times. We had as many as three Masses during the “Week”, evidence of our profound feelings for our religion.

Since its founding twenty years ago, “Le Journal de Lowell” has always considered it an honor to radiate the frenchness of this area in its publications which reach all corners of the world.

We have in our possession all the firm elements of a dynamic community which should continue for many years to come. All we have to do is think about our glorious past and recall it to those younger than us to make tradition not a thing for the past, but a powerful statement of our identity.

The Committee did some work that many other Franco-American communities admire. Perhaps we should look at ways to improve what our leaders started in 1971 by widening our point of view. A history of this Committee is part of research. This may be why these words are not enough: this is not even a sketch. I have not mentioned many names and facts because of the space afforded me. Le Journal published everything and will publish all the actions of the Committee forever and for as long as the Committee will make known its deeds.

Roger Brunelle

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