CSL WWII vet, 96, to receive National Assembly medal

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CSL WWII vet, 96, to receive National Assembly medal
D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum and World War II veteran George Nashen.
Photo courtesy David Birnbaum’s office

D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum will be honouring Côte St. Luc resident George Nashen, 96, with the National Assembly Medal at the annual D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal ceremony June 1, Birnbaum’s office announced.

The MNA’s office stated that Nashen, the father of former CSL councillor Glenn Nashen, will be honoured “in the name of all of those men and women who served the cause of freedom in that most pivotal and tragic conflict of the 20th century.” The medal becomes part of the permanent National Assembly record.

“It struck me at our last Remembrance Day ceremonies in the riding how sadly close we are to a time when no first-hand witnesses to World War II will be with us to remember, or to be honoured for their sacrifice, courage and legacy in saving our fundamental freedoms, here in Quebec, in all of Canada and around the world,” Birnbaum explained. “Furthermore, this riding that I serve is home to one of the highest numbers of Holocaust survivors and their families in Canada. The obligation of remembrance is deeply felt here, and this medal is one further way of expressing that obligation.”

Nashen, a long-time community volunteer and former clothing manufacturer, was a Royal Canadian Air Force Sergeant during World War II.

“I was 19 when I enlisted,” the veteran explained, “and I wasn’t that worldly. I didn’t understand much about politics. By 1938, with the rise of Hitler, the terrible threat to the free world started to become clear. I thought, I have to go over.”

Nashen added that it is important for young people to “learn about the atrocities and the sacrifices of World War II. Do they really know the seriousness of war, the feeling of daily life, when you get issued a helmet and a gas mask to make sure you survive the day?… The freedoms we take for granted today, were in peril back then. That should never be forgotten.”

Nashen stated that while he appreciates the medal recognition,he would “only accept the honour in the name of all of those veterans, still with us and those departed, who served in World War II.”

joel@thesuburban.com

A Day to Remember

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Three generations marking Remembrance Day 2019: George, Glenn and Jeremy Nashen

Each year, on Remembrance Day, our family takes time out to pay tribute to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who served in wars, conflicts, peacekeeping missions and here at home. We remember those who fell in action and who were injured. We think of those who continue to serve and we acknowledge the hardship for their families.

Closer to home, my family pays tribute to my father, George Nashen, for his service as a Sargent in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII.

This year we attended the Cote Saint-Luc ceremony held last Friday in City Hall. While the number of WWII veterans sadly diminishes each year we were fortunate to be with my dad, as one of only three veterans in the capacity crowd.

George Nashen surrounded by mayors, councillors, MNA, MP, clergy and emergency responders as school children look on

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein honoured the attending veterans, Alan Ruben, former City Councillor Isadore Goldberg and my father, George. The Mayor produced a video highlighting their contributions to Canada. Below you can watch the portion about my father.

 

There were three main pillars to this year’s events: the children, the wreath laying and the speeches.

Four elementary schools (JPPS, Hebrew Academy, Ecole de la Monde and Merton School) and two high schools (Bialik and John Grant) participated. The children recited poems, including In Flanders Field, and sang songs, such as The White Cliffs of Dover, in four languages. It was an impressive showing of the next generation and was reassuring that the fading memories of long ago sacrifices would still be remembered.

Wreaths were deposited by the politicians, emergency services, volunteer and community organizations, students and the staff of the city. One moving episode had three generations of the Reichson family including former CSL Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson, along with his father and daughter, laying a wreath in memory of his grandfather while holding his shining service medal from WWII and his photo.

The speeches were poignant and emotional. Mayor Brownstein spoke about educating the next generation and how the CSL Dramatic Society fulfilled an important mission in presenting the Broadway smash hit, Cabaret, earlier this year. The musical exposed the troubling times emerging in Germany as the country, and Europe descended into despair and chaos.

Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather gave a stirring speech about the veterans who returned to Canada and built our community. With his voice cracking with emotion, Housefather highlighted the veterans’ contributions and participation in civic life and noted that this spirit has endured and has made Cote Saint-Luc a volunteer-rich community with residents passionate about being involved.

Polioce Station 9 Commander Luis Olivera lays a wreath, accompanied by vCOP Susie Schwartz

D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum was solemn and retrospective and in his typical eloquence and charm marveled at the passing of the torch down through the generations.

The speeches were heartfelt and meaningful. I am grateful to our Mayor, MP and MNA for singling out my father as an example for the next generations.

MNA David Birnbaum, Cllr. Dida Berku, Fmr. Cllr Isadore Goldberg, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Mayor William Steinberg, MP Anthony Housefather and George Nashen

A minute of silence in memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving in the Canadian Armed Forces

George’s Story

 

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

George Nashen, 96, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force from December 1942 to April 1946 and was stationed at RCAF Overseas Headquarters in London, England for nearly three years. Luckily, he was not called up to the front lines. But his buddies were. Some never returned.

My father enlisted in December 1942 with several of his friends from Baron Byng High School, and was shipped off for two months of basic training in Toronto where the RCAF had taken over the CNE Fairgrounds. From there he was stationed at the Rockcliffe Airbase in Ottawa from February until August 1942 and then to Halifax where they boarded the Queen Mary cruise ship that had been commandeered to transport troops.

“We were 26,000 troops and 1,000 crew members crammed into the ship for the four day crossing to London, England,” my father told me. “There were 54 troops to a room and we took turns sleeping, 27 at a time slept on the hammocks lined up three high in nine columns,” he said. “It was so uncomfortable and there were so many disturbances that I chose to sleep in the hallways and stairwells. But the ship would list from one side to the other every seven minutes as it curved to avoid sailing in a straight line to escape any pursuing German U-boats. I remember the empty Coke bottles rolling bake and forth in the halls and hitting the walls preventing any rest there as well,” my dad said.

RCAF Aircraftsman 2nd Class, George Nashen (1943)

“In London, we slept in the Canadian Legion Hall until we could find an apartment,” my dad reminisced. There were no barracks in the city as they couldn’t chance losing so many soldiers in a targeted German bombing raid. “One night a bomb fell right outside the Legion Hall and blew in the doors and windows. As the glass flew and the ceiling collapsed I immediately rolled under my bed to take cover,” he said. “I yelled out to my buddy, Mel Nicol. ‘Are you alright Nic?’ Mel Nicol was real joker and responded, ‘I’m not sure, I’m looking for my leg’. Of course, he was just fine,” George said.

George and Mel eventually rented an apartment at Queens Gate Gardens about a 30 minute walk from Harrods, where the RCAF set up their administration and accounting division. We often joke that my father served in women’s lingerie during WW II, in reference to the department in Harrods where the Accounting Office was located. They were paid $2.50 per day subsistence allowance for their lodging and another $1 for food.

As an Aircraftsman 2nd Class they received $1.30 per day. Dad used to send $10 per month back to his Mom in  Montreal to save for him. Upon his return, three-and-a-half years later he had saved up about $300.

George Nashen in front of the Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veterans Park 2012

One night they were awakened by a bomb blast and heard that the nearby hospital was hit. Mel and George raced over to offer their assistance only to find out that 30 babies had been tragically killed. “It was the saddest day of my life,” my father said.

Back at Harrods he was busy taking care of Airman Pay Accounts to ensure each of the troops received their salary. Daily Routine Orders were meticulously entered for the tens of thousands of airmens’ accounts, all manually, of course.

My dad lost his best friend in battle. “Jay Singer was like a brother to me,” my father recounts. “Jay and I were inseparable from kindergarten through Baron Byng High School. Jay was an air force pilot from the age of 19. His plane went missing while laying mines in the Baltic Sea on June 15, 1944. Jay was just 22 year’s old when he died in service. I’ll never forget him.”

Jay Singer

Jay Singer

My father endured the bombardments and hardship of everyday life in London but fortunately was safe relative to so many others. The thick, dark clouds that hung over the city many nights from fog made it impossible to see right in front of you. My father recounts as he would feel his way along the walls of the buildings on his way home, counting off the number of doors and turns in the road to find his way home.

One night a bomb fell at a pub just outside of Harrods and some Londoners were killed. The next day, a young Princess Elizabeth, came by to visit and offer her support. My father watched excitedly from the window as the future Queen made her way along the street.

My father returned home in April 1946.

Three generations of Cote Saint-Lucers: George, Glenn and Jeremy Nashen 2013

Each year, I ask dad to take out his medals and his beret and to teach my own kids what it meant to serve Canada as a soldier.  They listen in amazement at his stories of 70 years ago, as they reflect on their lives in the best country to live in, Canada.

WWII veteran George Nashen, 93, deposits the wreath on behalf of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97 at the Cote Saint-Luc Cenotaph in Veterans Park. Accompanied by his grandson Cory, son Jeff and vCOP Phil Mayman. (Photo: Darryl Levine, CSL).

Each year on Remembrance Day, I salute my dad, and all those who served, who paid the ultimate price, who sustained injury and who were lucky to return just like George. His bravery and commitment, and theirs, to stand on guard, to liberating those who had their freedom taken from them so many years ago, to keeping Canada glorious and free, shines like a beacon to my kids and our entire family.

With my dad on Remembrance Day (Jewish General Hospital, 2014)

We’re proud of his accomplishments and grateful to still have him, and my mother, as our bridge between our past and our future.

 

George and Phyllis Nashen at their 95th and 90th birthday party (June 2018)

N

More:

Mount Royal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather’s speech

Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog

 

100 Years of Remembrance and Saluting my dad for his service

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This Remembrance Day marks 100 years since the end of hostility in World War I, the War to End All Wars.

This week we also mark 80 years since Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, which notoriously was the beginning of what became known as the Holocaust, or Shoah.

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

My father, George Nashen, 95, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force from December 1942 to April 1946 and was stationed at RCAF Overseas Headquarters in London, England for nearly three years. Luckily, he was not called up to the front lines. But his buddies were. Some never returned.

My father enlisted in December 1942 with several of his friends from Baron Byng High School, and was shipped off for two months of basic training in Toronto where the RCAF had taken over the CNE Fairgrounds. From there he was stationed at the Rockcliffe Airbase in Ottawa from February until August 1942 and then to Halifax where they boarded the Queen Mary cruise ship that had been commandeered to transport troops.

“We were 26,000 troops and 1,000 crew members crammed into the ship for the four day crossing to London, England,” my father told me. “There were 54 troops to a room and we took turns sleeping, 27 at a time slept on the hammocks lined up three high in nine columns,” he said. “It was so uncomfortable and there were so many disturbances that I chose to sleep in the hallways and stairwells. But the ship would list from one side to the other every seven minutes as it curved to avoid sailing in a straight line to escape any pursuing German U-boats. I remember the empty Coke bottles rolling bake and forth in the halls and hitting the walls preventing any rest there as well,” my dad said.

RCAF Aircraftsman 2nd Class, George Nashen (1943)

“In London, we slept in the Canadian Legion Hall until we could find an apartment,” my dad reminisced. There were no barracks in the city as they couldn’t chance losing so many soldiers in a targeted German bombing raid. “One night a bomb fell right outside the Legion Hall and blew in the doors and windows. As the glass flew and the ceiling collapsed I immediately rolled under my bed to take cover,” he said. “I yelled out to my buddy, Mel Nicol. ‘Are you alright Nic?’ Mel Nicol was real joker and responded, ‘I’m not sure, I’m looking for my leg’. Of course, he was just fine,” George said.

George and Mel eventually rented an apartment at Queens Gate Gardens about a 30 minute walk from Harrods, where the RCAF set up their administration and accounting division. We often joke that my father served in women’s lingerie during WW II, in reference to the department in Harrods where the Accounting Office was located. They were paid $2.50 per day subsistence allowance for their lodging and another $1 for food.

As an Aircraftsman 2nd Class they received $1.30 per day. Dad used to send $10 per month back to his Mom in  Montreal to save for him. Upon his return, three-and-a-half years later he had saved up about $300.

George Nashen in front of the Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veterans Park 2012

One night they were awakened by a bomb blast and heard that the nearby hospital was hit. Mel and George raced over to offer their assistance only to find out that 30 babies had been tragically killed. “It was the saddest day of my life,” my father said.

Back at Harrods he was busy taking care of Airman Pay Accounts to ensure each of the troops received their salary. Daily Routine Orders were meticulously entered for the tens of thousands of airmens’ accounts, all manually, of course.

My dad lost his best friend in battle. “Jay Singer was like a brother to me,” my father recounts. “Jay and I were inseparable from kindergarten through Baron Byng High School. Jay was an air force pilot from the age of 19. His plane went missing while laying mines in the Baltic Sea on June 15, 1944. Jay was just 22 year’s old when he died in service. I’ll never forget him.”

Jay Singer

Jay Singer

 

My father endured the bombardments and hardship of everyday life in London but fortunately was safe relative to so many others. The thick, dark clouds that hung over the city many nights from fog made it impossible to see right in front of you. My father recounts as he would feel his way along the walls of the buildings on his way home, counting off the number of doors and turns in the road to find his way home.

One night a bomb fell at a pub just outside of Harrods and some Londoners were killed. The next day, a young Princess Elizabeth, came by to visit and offer her support. My father watched excitedly from the window as the future Queen made her way along the street.

My father returned home in April 1946.

Three generations of Cote Saint-Lucers: George, Glenn and Jeremy Nashen 2013

Each year, I ask dad to take out his medals and his beret and to teach my own kids what it meant to serve Canada as a soldier.  They listen in amazement at his stories of 70 years ago, as they reflect on their lives in the best country to live in, Canada.

WWII veteran George Nashen, 93, deposits the wreath on behalf of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97 at the Cote Saint-Luc Cenotaph in Veterans Park. Accompanied by his grandson Cory, son Jeff and vCOP Phil Mayman. (Photo: Darryl Levine, CSL).

Each year on Remembrance Day, I salute my dad, and all those who served, who paid the ultimate price, who sustained injury and who were lucky to return just like George. His bravery and commitment, and theirs, to stand on guard, to liberating those who had their freedom taken from them so many years ago, to keeping Canada glorious and free, shines like a beacon to my kids and our entire family.

With my dad on Remembrance Day (Jewish General Hospital, 2014)

We’re proud of his accomplishments and grateful to still have him, and my mother, as our bridge between our past and our future.

 

George and Phyllis Nashen at their 95th and 90th birthday party (June 2018)

 

 

More:

A day of remembrance, honour and appreciation in CSL

In tribute to my father, the soldier

Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog

The JGH Remembers

#CanadaRemembers

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wewillremember

We are so fortunate to still have many veterans with us and honoured to be able to mark Remembrance Day and VE Day commemorations with them. Veterans Park in Cote Saint-Luc has been a gathering spot to remember and to honour those who served and the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live in such a wonderful country and in a free and democratic society.

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

My father, George Nashen, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed at RCAF Overseas Headquarters in London, England for nearly three years during WWII. Luckily, he was not called up to the front lines but his buddies were.

My dad lost his best friend in battle. “Jay Singer was like a brother to me,” my father recounts. “Jay and I were inseparable from kindergarten through Baron Byng High School. Jay was an air force pilot from the age of 19. His plane went missing while laying mines in the Baltic Sea on June 15, 1944. Jay was just 22 year’s old when he died in service. I’ll never forget him.”

Jay Singer

Jay Singer

Le parc des Vétérans, une parcelle de terrain située juste derrière l’hôtel de ville et la bibliothèque, se prête particulièrement bien aux activités du jour de la Victoire en Europe et du jour du Souvenir. Nous sommes vraiment chanceux d’avoir encore avec nous autant d’anciens combattants et de pouvoir marquer ces occasions en leur compagnie.

Mon père, George Nashen, a servi dans l’Aviation royale canadienne et a été affecté au Quartier général à Londres, en Angleterre, pendant près de trois ans au cours de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Heureusement, il n’a pas été appelé en première ligne, mais ses copains étaient.

Mon père a perdu son meilleure amie dans la bataille. “Jay Singer était comme un frère pour moi», mon père raconte. “Jay et moi étions inséparables depuis la maternelle jusqu’à Baron Byng High School. Jay était un pilote des forces aérien à partir de l’âge de 19 ans. Son avion a disparu tout en jetant des mines dans la mer Baltique le 15 Juin 1944. Jay était juste 22 de ans lorsqu’il est mort en service. Je ne l’oublierai jamais.”

 

Each year, I ask my father to take out his medals and his beret and to teach my kids about what it meant to serve Canada as a soldier.  They listen in amazement at his stories, at what must sound like a very strange concept, as they reflect on their lives in the best country to live in, Canada.

Remembrance Day ceremony at the Jewish General Hospital (2014)

I salute my dad, today, Remembrance Day, once again.  His bravery and commitment to stand on guard, to liberating those who had their freedom taken from them so many years ago, to keeping Canada glorious and free, shines like a beacon to my kids and our entire family.  We’re proud of his accomplishments and grateful to have him, and my mother, as our bridge between our past and our future.

George Nashen in front of the Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veterans Park on VE Day 2012

More:

A day of remembrance, honour and appreciation in CSL

In tribute to my father, the soldier

Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog

The JGH Remembers

We Will Remember Them. Nous Nous Souviendrons D’eux.

2 Comments

wewillremember

We are so fortunate to still have many veterans with us and honoured to be able to mark Remembrance Day with them. We honour those who served and the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live in such a wonderful country and in a free and democratic society.

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

My father, George Nashen, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed at RCAF Overseas Headquarters in London, England for nearly three years during WWII. Luckily, he was not called up to the front lines but his buddies were.

My dad lost his best friend in battle. “Jay Singer was like a brother to me,” my father recounts. “Jay and I were inseparable from kindergarten through Baron Byng High School. Jay was an air force pilot from the age of 19. His plane went missing while laying mines in the Baltic Sea on June 15, 1944. Jay was just 22 year’s old when he died in service. I’ll never forget him.”

Jay Singer

Jay Singer

Le parc des Vétérans, une parcelle de terrain située juste derrière l’hôtel de ville et la bibliothèque, se prête particulièrement bien aux activités du jour de la Victoire en Europe et du jour du Souvenir. Nous sommes vraiment chanceux d’avoir encore avec nous autant d’anciens combattants et de pouvoir marquer ces occasions en leur compagnie.

Remembrance Day ceremony at the Jewish General Hospital

Remembrance Day ceremony at the Jewish General Hospital 2014

Mon père, George Nashen, a servi dans l’Aviation royale canadienne et a été affecté au Quartier général à Londres, en Angleterre, pendant près de trois ans au cours de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Heureusement, il n’a pas été appelé en première ligne, mais ses copains étaient.

Mon père a perdu son meilleure amie dans la bataille. “Jay Singer était comme un frère pour moi», mon père raconte. “Jay et moi étions inséparables depuis la maternelle jusqu’à Baron Byng High School. Jay était un pilote des forces aérien à partir de l’âge de 19 ans. Son avion a disparu tout en jetant des mines dans la mer Baltique le 15 Juin 1944. Jay était juste 22 de ans lorsqu’il est mort en service. Je ne l’oublierai jamais.”

My father will once again fall in as the bugle sounds today at 11:00AM in Veteran’s Park in Cote Saint-Luc. At 93 years young, full of energy and spirit, brimming with memories and hope for the future he is a shining example for the younger generations of those who served. Together with my mom, at 88, they continue to inspire with their open and positive outlook. May they continue to do so in good health for many years to come.

George Nashen in front of the Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veterans Park

George Nashen in front of the Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veterans Park 2012

I salute all those who served, past and present. They brought honour to Canada that has lasted for 100 years or more. And they continue to make this country a very special place, the best place to live in the world.

WWII veteran George Nashen, 93, deposits the wreath on behalf of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97 at the Cote Saint-Luc Cenotaph in Veterans Park. Accompanied by his grandson Cory, son Jeff and vCOP Phil Mayman. (Photo: Darryl Levine, CSL).

WWII veteran George Nashen, 93, deposits the wreath on behalf of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97 at the Cote Saint-Luc Cenotaph in Veterans Park. Accompanied by his grandson Cory, son Jeff and vCOP Phil Mayman. (Photo: Darryl Levine, CSL).

WWII veterans of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97 with MP Anthony Housefather, MNA David Birnbaum, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Members of Council. My father, George Nashen, fourth from left. (Photo Darryl Levine, CSL).

WWII veterans of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97 with MP Anthony Housefather, MNA David Birnbaum, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Members of Council at the Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph on Remembrance Day 2016. My father, George Nashen, fourth from left. (Photo Darryl Levine, CSL).

 

 

We will remember them. Nous nous souviendrons d’eux.

 

More:

A day of remembrance, honour and appreciation in CSL

In tribute to my father, the soldier

Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog

The JGH Remembers

Remembering Remembrance Day in CSL

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The City of Côte Saint-Luc has released video of its 1974 Remembrance Day parade and ceremony.
The release of this video is part of an ongoing effort by Côte Saint-Luc to share its history with the public. Côte Saint-Luc has digitized more than 1,000 photos from its archives and posted them online. Visit CoteSaintLuc.org/photogallery to see photos.
The 41-year old film was donated by Sheldon Caplan, whose his parents Albert and Lily Caplan, were active in Royal Canadian Legion and Auxiliary. The city digitized the 16-millimetre film and is making it available on YouTube to honour its veterans this Remembrance Day. The film includes then-Mayor Samuel Moskovitch and other members of council of that era.
Watch the 10-minute video at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmFmziaVipo
“One of my goals has been to help gather old photos, films, documents and other artifacts from the history of Côte Saint-Luc,” said Acting Mayor Glenn J. Nashen. “It will be presented in some combination of rotating public display and website. We’d like suggestions from people in the community who are willing to volunteer and help build a Côte Saint-Luc Historical Society.”
Côte Saint-Luc hopes the Côte Saint-Luc Historical Society can help unearth more gems and bring them to the public. To volunteer for the Côte Saint-Luc Historical Society, call Darryl Levine at 514-485-6800 ext. 1802 or email dlevine@cotesaintluc.org

Let’s Remember Them

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wewillremember

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

 

 

Solemn student ceremony in Hampstead remembers Canada’s fallen soldiers, victims of Holocaust

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Remembrance Day parade of students in Hampstead on November 5, 2015 (Photo: Denis Beaumont)

Remembrance Day parade of students in Hampstead on November 5, 2015 (Photo: Denis Beaumont)

The annual Remembrance Day ceremony in Hampstead was held today in bright, unusually warm sunshine. Over 100 students participated from surrounding public and private elementary and high schools. The event was held in cooperation with the Royal Montreal Regiment to pay respects to the courage and sacrifice of our veterans at the Cenotaph and Holocaust Memorial in Hampstead Park.

The event is held each year ahead of November 11 in order to allow for students and military personnel to attend together.

The focus of Hampstead’s Remembrance Day ceremony is to introduce the next generation to the tradition of remembering those who went to war to fight for the rights and freedoms that we enjoy today.  Students attended from Hampstead School, Solomon Schechter Academy, Bialik High School, JPPS Elementary School, and École des Amis-du-Monde. All students participated in the ceremony.

Hampstead Councillors Edery, Goldwax, Shaffer, Mayor Steinberg, CSL Acting Mayor Glenn J. Nashen at Remembrance Day in Hampstead on November 5, 2015 (Photo: Denis Beaumont)

Hampstead Councillors Edery, Goldwax, Shaffer, Mayor Steinberg, CSL Acting Mayor Glenn J. Nashen at Remembrance Day in Hampstead on November 5, 2015 (Photo: Denis Beaumont)

Mayor William Steinberg spoke to the children assembled by emphasizing that we remember the past contributions of Canada’s military personnel who fought to earn freedom for future generations of Canadians. “Our dignitaries are the present and the past but you, boys and girls, are the future,” said Mayor Steinberg.

“This morning we remember the brave men and women who paid the ultimate price in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the peace keeping and peace making missions, and today they are serving in Iraq. We also remember those who returned with serious injuries and also those who returned with no visible signs of injury,” Mayor Steinberg said. “No one serves in a war zone without suffering. We are grateful to all the members of the Canadian Armed Forces, past and present. They served and continue to serve in faraway lands so that we do not have to experience the horrors of war in Canada and so that we may live our lives in peace and harmony.”

Royal Montreal Regiment guards at Remembrance Day in Hampstead on November 5, 2015 (Photo: Denis Beaumont)

Royal Montreal Regiment guards at Remembrance Day in Hampstead on November 5, 2015 (Photo: Denis Beaumont)

“In the 1914 poem, For the Fallen, we read, ‘They shall not grow old’, and it ends with the words, which we repeat, ‘We will remember them, ‘” said Mayor Steinberg. “The verse does not end with, ‘We remember them’, but rather, ‘We WILL remember them’. It is a call to future generations to never forget the sacrifices and to learn the lessons of history. It is a call to value peace, freedom and democracy. And that is why I said that you, boys and girls, are our most important guests. You are tomorrow’s leaders and I have every confidence that you, too, will remember them.”

Adath Israel Rabbi Michael Whitman said to the children that we enjoy the right to vote and choose who will govern us, a right not shared with the majority of the world’s population. We enjoy these privileges because of the sacrifices made by so many who served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Cote Saint-Luc was represented by Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, Stephen Erdelyi and myself, in my capacity as Acting Mayor. Former Councillor Isadore Goldberg and former Men’s Club President Jack Budovitch, both wearing their WWII military decorations, were also in attendance as was CSL Public Security Director Jordy Reichson and newly appointed Station 9 Police Commander Jean O’Malley.

The event in Hampstead Park was preceded by a ceremonial march of students from Hampstead School to the memorial site, led by the soldiers of the Royal Montreal Regiment.  The Regiment’s participation in Hampstead’s annual commemoration has become a tradition for the town, reinforcing the long-standing partnership between the Regiment and Hampstead.

In 2008, Hampstead granted the Royal Montreal Regiment the Freedom of the City, allowing the regiment the privilege of parading through the community with colours flying, bayonets fixed and bands playing. “The Regiment’s partnership with the Town is a great source of pride for Hampstead,” said Mayor Steinberg.

 

70th anniversary V-E Day commemoration ceremony on Sunday, May 3

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VEDay_70_years
The annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration takes place on Sunday, May 3 at 2 pm at Veterans Park, in the city of Côte Saint-Luc.
The ceremony will highlight the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Europe form the armed forces of Nazi Germany, on May 8, 1945.
In attendance will be members of the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion, Mayor Anthony Housefather, the Côte Saint-Luc city council, dignitaries, veterans and residents.  To mark the 70th anniversary, Côte Saint-Luc is sending out invitations by mail to all households.

VE Day enactment of a vintage WWII RCAF paratroopers uniform

VE Day enactment of a vintage WWII RCAF paratroopers uniform

“It is important to express our gratitude to the men and women who have fought to liberate Europe,” said Councillor Ruth Kovac, who is the co-chairperson of this event with Councillor Allan J. Levine. “Our veterans contributed in ending the genocide against the Jewish population of Europe and others targeted by the Nazis. Attending this ceremony is a concrete and visible manner to honour them and to reflect on the sacrifices made.”
This year’s commemoration will be conducted by Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 President, Frank Levine. Veterans Park is located next to the City Hall and library (5801 Cavendish Blvd.) In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held indoors at the City Hall.

VE Day parade in Cote Saint-Luc 2008

VE Day parade in Cote Saint-Luc 2008

“I encourage everyone to come on May 3 and show support for our veterans who still continue to do so much for our community and look after their own,” Councillor Levine said. “Every November during the annual Poppy Fund Campaign, the veterans sit for hours in malls and grocery stores pinning endless poppies on endless lapels to collect funds. The monies collected are then returned to the community through donations to local organisations, such as the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Jewish General Hospital, the Salvation Army, the Old Brewery Mission and many others.”

George Nashen in front of the Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veterans Park on VE Day 2012

George Nashen in front of the Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veterans Park on VE Day 2012

The cenotaph at Veterans Park near 5851 Cavendish Blvd. honours the memory of those who gave their lives in the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War.

Observing Remembrance Day with my father

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Remembrance Day ceremony at the Jewish General Hospital with my father, George Nashen

Remembrance Day ceremony at the Jewish General Hospital with my father, George Nashen

 

As director of public affairs it is an honour for me to emcee the annual Jewish General Hospital Remembrance Day ceremony. This is a solemn and meaningful occasion for the staff, volunteers and even some patients to gather for fifteen minutes to pay tribute to those who have fallen so that we may live in freedom. It gives us the chance to say thank you to the brave soldiers of the Canadian Armed Forces as well as to veterans of war, conflicts and those who serve in peacekeeping missions around the world.

Each year, on the 11th day of the 11th month, at the 11th hour, we pause to remember.

This year we also mark 100 years since the beginning of the First World War. And we sadly remember W.O. Fabrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, tragically cut down not on faraway battlefields, but right here on Canadian soil, just two short weeks ago.

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

I was pleased to recognize Craig Goral, from the JGH security team and former member of the Canadian Grenadier Guards, and Sandy Bernstein, well known JGH volunteer selling poppies and used books and a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 97. My father, George Nashen, also joined us. My father is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97, veteran of WWII in the Royal Canadian Air Force, having served overseas for a few years. He was also was present for the inauguration of the JGH 80 years ago.

 

JGH and Legion volunteer known foe her annual poppy sale along with CTV News reporter Rob Lurie

JGH and Legion volunteer known for her annual poppy sale along with CTV News reporter Rob Lurie

Canada’s Veterans—they have kept us strong, proud and free

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Remembrance in Hampstead

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Royal Montreal Regiment

Royal Montreal Regiment

The annual Remembrance Day commemoration in Hampstead is a special and solemn occasion bringing together local dignitaries, clergy, residents, military, police officers and young students to learn about Canada’s great history and to honour the sacrifices of our fallen soldiers.

Royal Montreal Regiment

Royal Montreal Regiment

This year’s event, held yesterday over the noon hour, was even more meaningful not only in marking 100 years since the start of World War I but because of the recent horrific killings of two Canadian soldiers right here in Canada.

Bialik High School Choir singing "The White Cliffs of Dover"

Bialik High School Choir singing “The White Cliffs of Dover”

Mayor William Steinberg reminded the youngsters that they are tomorrow’s leaders and bear the responsibility to remember the sacrifices made so that they, and we, could live in peace and freedom.

Police Commander Marc Cournoyer and Lt. Brian Cunningham

Police Commander Marc Cournoyer and Lt. Brian Cunningham

Wreaths were laid at the Hampstead cenotaph, as is the custom, however the handmade, colourful one presented by the students of Ecole de la Mosaique, along with white paper doves was very moving.

Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg toasts Remembrance Day organizer Mike Fitzpatrick and members of RMR

Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg toasts Remembrance Day organizer Mike Fitzpatrick (in red beret) and members of RMR

I am so pleased to represent the city of Cote Saint-Luc every year at this solemn gathering. This year I joined Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather along with Councillors Ruth Kovac, Mitchell Brownstein, Steven Erdelyi and former Councillor and WWII veteran Isadore Goldberg.

Hampstead Cenotaph

Hampstead Cenotaph

Councillor Kovac described the sounds of the bagpipe as “haunting.” Rabbi Michael Whitman of Adath Israel Synagogue asked those present to walk up to a uniformed soldier and say, “Thank you for your service.”

Hampstead Cenotaph

Hampstead Cenotaph

With a noticeable police presence the event was smaller than usual. It is very unfortunate as I would have expected a larger presence given the tragic events of the last few weeks. The Hampstead event, though, falls several days before Remembrance Day so that members of the military , who ae otherwise attending the larger Montreal ceremony on November 11 may be present for the school children.

JPPS grade 6 recite poetry

JPPS grade 6 recite poetry

Please do heed the words of Rabbi Whitman by thanking a soldier and attend a Remembrance Day ceremony on November 11.

JPPS students learning importance of remembrance

JPPS students learning importance of remembrance

You are invited to CSL’s VE Day Commemoration, this Sunday

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VE day 2014

 

VE Day 2014 Eng VE Day 2014 FR

We Will Remember Them. Nous Nous Souviendrons D’eux.

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wewillremember

We are so fortunate to still have many veterans with us and honoured to be able to mark Remembrance Day and VE Day commemorations with them. Veterans Park in Cote Saint-Luc has been a gathering spot to remember and to honour those who served and the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live in such a wonderful country and in a free and democratic society.

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

My father, George Nashen, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed at RCAF Overseas Headquarters in London, England for nearly three years during WWII. Luckily, he was not called up to the front lines but his buddies were.

My dad lost his best friend in battle. “Jay Singer was like a brother to me,” my father recounts. “Jay and I were inseparable from kindergarten through Baron Byng High School. Jay was an air force pilot from the age of 19. His plane went missing while laying mines in the Baltic Sea on June 15, 1944. Jay was just 22 year’s old when he died in service. I’ll never forget him.”

Jay Singer

Jay Singer

Le parc des Vétérans, une parcelle de terrain située juste derrière l’hôtel de ville et la bibliothèque, se prête particulièrement bien aux activités du jour de la Victoire en Europe et du jour du Souvenir. Nous sommes vraiment chanceux d’avoir encore avec nous autant d’anciens combattants et de pouvoir marquer ces occasions en leur compagnie.

Mon père, George Nashen, a servi dans l’Aviation royale canadienne et a été affecté au Quartier général à Londres, en Angleterre, pendant près de trois ans au cours de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Heureusement, il n’a pas été appelé en première ligne, mais ses copains étaient.

Mon père a perdu son meilleure amie dans la bataille. “Jay Singer était comme un frère pour moi», mon père raconte. “Jay et moi étions inséparables depuis la maternelle jusqu’à Baron Byng High School. Jay était un pilote des forces aérien à partir de l’âge de 19 ans. Son avion a disparu tout en jetant des mines dans la mer Baltique le 15 Juin 1944. Jay était juste 22 de ans lorsqu’il est mort en service. Je ne l’oublierai jamais.”

More:

A day of remembrance, honour and appreciation in CSL

In tribute to my father, the soldier

Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog

The JGH Remembers

Mayors are unanimous in opposing “laughable” and “shameful” Bill 60

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Housefather_Bill60_Gazette

Well said Mr. Mayor, umm, make that mayors.

I greatly appreciate the clarity and frank talk that I’m hearing from our local mayors beginning with newly elected Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre. The last think we need is more division, more ways of shaking confidence in Montreal’s future and its economic and social development.

Mayors Anthony Housefather and Bill Steinberg were direct and to the point. “Laughable”, “shameful”, “appalling, “immoral.”

As Housefather summed up, “It’s just so sad.”

Thank you to our mayor. And to yours. Quebecers of various stripes must stand up against such a deplorable abuse of fundamental rights.

What’s more, the tabling of this Bill 60, in the days leading up to Remembrance Day, when we honour and commemorate the lives lost and forever altered of those brave Canadians, Quebecers included, is quite poignant. Our war veterans and peacekeepers put their lives on the line, made the ultimate sacrifice, fought for fundamental rights and freedom for people they didn’t even know in faraway lands. What would they say about what the Quebec Government is trying to do with this bill given the sacrifices made by generations before us? Shame. Shame. Shame.

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Mayors call proposal divisive, appalling and embarrassing

BY RENÉ BRUEMMER, GAZETTE CIVIC AFFAIRS REPORTER. NOVEMBER 8, 2013

The mayors of Montreal and its neighbouring municipalities joined the chorus of dissent against Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values bill Thursday, calling it divisive, appalling and embarrassing, and vowing to defy it.

Montreal mayor-elect Denis Coderre said he would travel to Quebec City to reiterate the city’s objection before a parliamentary committee and the leaders of the provincial political parties, including Premier Pauline Marois. The bill hurts not only the city’s social fabric but its economy as well, and he repeated earlier promises to challenge the bill in court, if it comes to that.

“There is no problem with having a neutral state and open secularism (where people can display religious symbols),” Coderre said. “Integration does not mean uniformity. We define this city by its diversity, and my role is to make sure we keep it.”

Coderre cited a survey taken by the Conseil du patronat, Quebec’s largest employers’ group, which found 63 per cent of business owners opposed the charter and 82 per cent predicted it would have a negative effect on Quebec’s image internationally. He said he would ask Montreal’s newly elected city council to pass a motion opposing the charter as well as the agglomeration council, as they have done in the past.

Côte-St-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather called the bill both harrowing and embarrassing.

“It’s an absolutely appalling piece of legislation and I think it’s something that would be laughed at in any other jurisdiction in North America,” he said.

“It puts religious freedoms at a level where the state itself is imposing restrictions on people’s individual expression of their religious freedom and their dress at work. Of course, while providing an exemption for whatever they consider to be Quebec’s cultural heritage, such as the crucifix.”

Housefather criticized the bill for putting the will of the Parti Québécois over that of local mayors and constituents.

“It devalues the rights of municipalities, hospitals, school boards, and the rights of elected officials at other levels of government and simply imposes their view of provincial government on everybody.

“The people of Côte-St-Luc did not elect Pauline Marois … and whatever values she is talking about are not the values of Côte-St-Luc. This is the PQ trying to appeal to a segment of the electorate for their re-election, and it’s appalling.”

Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg said his municipality wouldn’t even bother to apply for exemptions to the charter because that would give it a legitimacy it does not deserve.

“We will ignore it” if it is voted into law, he said. “Let them take us to court, I don’t care — we can be the test case. We won’t even consider the law. It’s illegitimate, it’s immoral and shameful and we will not co-operate with it at all.”

None of Hampstead’s public employees wear religious symbols, but many have asked if they could in protest if the law comes into effect. Certainly, said Steinberg, who calls Bill 60 the Charter of Shame.

Westmount Mayor Peter Trent said the PQ is trying to “manufacture discord and problems for ulterior motives … for partisan reasons for the final goal for which the PQ was founded.”

He predicted the party has gone too far, however.

“They’ve gone completely beyond reason and I think they will find such a negative reaction they will have to pull back.”

For Housefather, the damage has already been done.

“This is one of the rare times I am so embarrassed by our provincial government,” he said. “Rob Ford is making Toronto a laughingstock. In my view this current Quebec government is making Quebec a laughingstock.

“It’s so sad. It’s just so sad.”

rbruemmer@montrealgazette.com

Twitter: renebruemmer

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