Photo credit: Darryl Levine, CSL Communications

Under sunny skies on a warm spring afternoon, veterans, dignitaries, volunteers and members of the public assembled today at Cote Saint-Luc’s Veterans Park for the annual commemoration of Victory in Europe Day, commonly referred to as D Day. The eerie sound of the bagpipes summoned all to attention as flags fluttered at half mast in tribute to those who had fallen in service and paid the ultimate price.

Veterans and members of the Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion before the cenotaph in Veterans Park

Veterans and members of the Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion before the cenotaph in Veterans Park  (Photo Darryl Levine)

Mayor Anthony Housefather paid homage to those who served and returned to build Cote Saint-Luc into a modern, bustling suburban community. He lauded the veteran’s sense of community and volunteerism that paved the way for the city’s volunteer Citizens on Patrol, Emergency Medical Services and the volunteers within recreation, seniors, library and so many other groups.

“I commit to you today, that for the rest of my life I will never forget your sacrifice and service,” the mayor said, pledging to continue to undertake this annual event year after year and to continue teaching generations to come.

Native Cote Saint-Lucer and Honourary Dutch Consul Michael Polak recounted how important the Canadian contribution was to the people of the Netherlands. “Canadian grave sites (in Holland) were tended to for 70 years by grandparents, children and now grandchildren,” Polak said. “And I assure you they will continue to honour these fallen Canadian liberators for generations to come.”

I am honoured to place a wreath at the cenotaph on behalf of  CSL Public Safety and all those who serve, both volunteers and professional (Photo Darryl Levine)

I am honoured to place a wreath at the cenotaph on behalf of CSL Public Safety and all those who serve, both volunteer and professional (Photo Darryl Levine)

Although the veterans grow fewer in number each year it is remarkable to see their determination and resolve to participate in uniform with medals of service and bravery adorning their blue blazers. Their berets show the golden “97” depicting their branch in the Royal Canadian Legion.

My father, George Nashen, 91, proudly took his place in the front row, together with my mother. At the sounding of the bugle, his right arm, still sore from surgery last year, sprang to attention, just as it did more than 70 years ago. While his service, so many decades ago took him oversees to London as a teenager, he returned home having lost his best friend and so many comrades in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Proud to represent my city, alongside my father, who represented our country so many decades ago under horrific conditions

Proud to represent my city, alongside my father, who bravely represented our country so many decades ago under horrific conditions (Photo Darryl Levine)

On this D Day, 70 years after liberation, I also pay tribute to those who served and those who fell. I thank them all for their sacrifice to bring an end to the tyranny and murder of millions in the gas chambers and in their homes and cities. They served so that others could again live in free and democratic countries across Europe, and so we would be so fortunate here in Canada.

And I salute my own father for his service to country, to humanity and to freedom.

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