Papineau Square Rededicated Following Restoration
Nearly 60 years to the day, Papineau Square in New Bedford's north end was rededicated Saturday morning.
Originally dedicated on September 16, 1956, the square pays tribute to New Bedford resident and US Army veteran Pvt. Norbert A. "Pappy" Papineau.
Papineau was killed in action on February 27, 1945 in the vicinity of Berendorf, Germany.
At the center of the square is an American M4 Sherman Tank. The tank was restored over the course of six Saturdays this summer by the US Army Brotherhood of Tankers (USABOT).
During the restoration project, Papineau's grand niece Cindy Mello Viera and her mother joined lent a hand and shared stories about Papineau. Viera also learned about her own family, discovering cousins she never knew she had as well as building a bond with the brotherhood.
"For my mom and I this was an amazing journey to be able to hang out with these guys and have the opportunity to see the joy and passion and what the brotherhood is all about," Viera said. "Their passion and comradery these guys have is unmeasurable."
Many of Papineau's extended family were present for the ceremony and took part in the project. Neighboring residents were also said to have been very supportive of the volunteers.
"It's been our distinct honor and pleasure to have worked on this memorial to Norbert Papineau," said Paul Souza, city resident and member of USABOT. "During our time here we've learned so much about his service and sacrifice and those stories kept us going through the hot summer."
Mayor Jon Mitchell said the project "wasn't about the money, it's about the effort" made by those who participated in the restoration and the effort by those who served, like Pvt. Papineau.
Along with the USABOT, Post 1 American Legion and city officials played a role in supporting the restoration of the tank and the square.