Victory in Europe Day was marked today in the City of Cote Saint-Luc. This annual event marks the day in history that ended World War II. In Cote Saint-Luc we have held our annual commemoration on VE Day for nearly two decades as our veterans have grown older and November 11 has become too cold for them outdoors and it is difficult to draw a crowd.
The event is held in Veteran’ Park on Cavendish Boulevard next to City Hall. Dignitaries including diplomats and elected representatives from all levels of government join with clergy, veterans and their families, city staff, emergency personnel and volunteers to mark the solemn occasion.
I was particularly pleased to have my three year old son and 10 year old daughter join me and my wife along with my father, 89 years old and a veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force. My father served in London, England and shares his memories of the bombardments and of friends who never returned from the front lines.
Mayor Anthony Housefather never disappoints with his traditionally passionate speech of appreciation to those who served and to those who returned to build our city and community.
Howard Liebman, Chief of Staff to Mount Royal Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler gave an eloquent speech on behalf of the MP. Cotler was in Jerusalem on this day. Liebman’s speech highlighted the numerous interventions by the MP to signal gross violations of human rights, genocides and unspeakable atrocities that continue around the world. He said that it is the obligation of all free people to speak out against such horrors such as that which is going on today in Syria, Iran, on the African continent and other hotspots around the world.
D’Arcy McGee Member of the National Assembly Lawrence Bergman spoke of the importance to respect those currently serving. He singled out the PQ’s Bill 14 as being fundamentally unjust to those serving in Quebec in the Canadian Armed Forces who would be forced to educate their children in French rather than English The provision in Bill 14 would add a level of stress upon the soldiers, Bergman said, should they be transferred with their families to another province where there children would then be at a disadvantage in an English school.
As the City Councillor responsible for Public Safety I was honoured to join Cote Saint-Luc Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson in laying a wreath on behalf of the department. The department includes EMS, vCOP, Public Security, Emergency Communications and Emergency Preparedness.
The event was emceed by the Legion’s Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 president, Frank Levine. The co-chairs were Councillors Ruth Kovac and Allan J. Levine.
The hot sun and slight breeze was comforting for the aging veterans, who, sadly, are fewer in number each year.
Dutch Honourary Consul and Cote Saint-Luc resident for 25 years, Michael Pollak, noted that while not nearly enough Canadian kids are conversant and knowledgeable enough about WWII, that is certainly not the case for school kids in the Netherlands. Pollak said that the lessons and experiences of the war are etched into Dutch psyche, and his countryman know full well about the heroic liberation led by Canadian soldiers, some of whom were likely sitting right before him in today’s crowd.
The 306 Wing Maple Leaf Concert Band:
Read more on Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog
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