VE Day commemorated in CSL

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VE Day 2017 was a pedagogical affair

By: Councillor Mike Cohen

Posted: 09 May 2017

For many years the annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration took place on a Sunday. In attendance were veterans from the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion, dignitaries and members of the community. The crowds were never exceptionally large and what we clearly missed was the younger generation.

Merton1stu

A Merton student reads “In Flander’s Field” as Jordy Reichson looks on.

When fellow Councillor Sidney Benizri and I were appointed co-chairs of this year’s VE Day event, we were committed to making it an educational exercise. So we scheduled it for a Monday morning (May 7) at a centrally located school – the Marymount Adult Education Centre(soon to be renamed Wagar) on Parkhaven Avenue. Principal Jacques Monfette was most gracious in making all of the arrangements. We virtually filled the 350 seat Syd Wise Auditorium with students from the two host schools – Marymount Adult Education Centre and John Grant High School; Merton and Willingdon Elementary Schools; and Solomon Schechter Academy.

The ceremony highlighted the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Europe from the armed forces of Nazi Germany, on May 8, 1945. Our Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson coordinated much of the ceremony and served as a superb master of ceremonies. He put VE Day into perspective, provided some historical notes and showed this  excellent video.

 

Two students helped lay wreaths at the front of the stage. English Montreal School Board Commissioner Bernard Praw and Mr. Monfette read the Act of Remembrance. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather, Israel Consul General Ziv Nevo Kulman and Elisabeth Prass (on behalf of D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum) gave remarks. Two students from Merton read From Flanders Field. We concluded with the singing of the national anthem.

Group

A group photo of dignitaries and the Merton students.

We were fortunate to have with us veteran Sonny Rubin, 92 years young.

“Seventy-two years ago very young men went to war,” said Mayor Brownstein. “You had to be 18 years of age. Some 15, 16 and 17 year olds got fake IDs so they could get into the armed forces. They did this to insure our freedom.”

Zivnevo

Ziv Nevo Kulman

Housefather pointed out that this year’s commemoration of VE Day coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “No matter who is in power,” he said, “you have rights.”

Regarding VE Day, Housefather noted that when he was our mayor VE Day was coordinated by the veterans. “We had dozens of veterans in their 70s who had fought and come back and created Côte Saint-Luc,” he recalled. “They could have come back jaded or disgruntle. But they came back and built our community.”

The Consul General told the audience that his father was a survivor of the Holocaust whose family hid in a little underground shelter and was liberated by the Soviets. “I would not be here had it not been for the Allies,” he said.

Raising the elections in France, the Consul General expressed deep concern over the fact that Marine Le Pen, a candidate whose party denies the Holocaust, got 11 million votes. “We have a very important role to remedy that so denial and revisionism does not happen again,” he said.

Thanks to staffer Jordy Reichson, Regine Banon, Cornelia Ziga and Laura Trihas for coordinating the event. We will next convene to honour our veterans on Friday, November 10 (11 am) for our Remembrance Day commemoration at Veteran’s Park next to City Hall.

“Côte Saint-Luc is proud to express gratitude to the men and women who have fought to liberate Europe,” said Mayor Brownstein. “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.”

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 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

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

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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.

Repeating the message of VE Day in Cote Saint-Luc

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Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97 at the 2014 VE Day Commemoration

Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97 join Mayor Anthony Housefather at the 2014 VE Day Commemoration

 

A chill in the air and light mist did not dampen the resolve of the aging local veterans of WWII to remember the sacrifices of their comrades and friends so many decades ago. While their numbers, sadly, diminish each year they were strongly supported by politicians, diplomats, volunteers and residents at this solemn and meaningful gathering.

Mayor Housefather eloquently said to those assembled that we are duty bound to repeat again and again, and to teach the younger generations of what our parents and grandparents did to secure our free and democratic country and to never remain silent in face of adversity. I believe that of all our mayor’s magnificent speeches throughout the year his VE Day remarks are his most heartfelt and touching ones.

 

 

Dutch Consul General Michael Polak gave a stirring account of his parents liberation from war-torn Holland and eventual emigration to Canada, where they settled in Cote Saint-Luc. Polak’s speech was both personal and emotional. He gave sincere thanks to the veterans for his family’s sake and he received a loud applause from the audience.

 

 

VE Day enactment of a vintage WWII RCAF paratroopers uniform

VE Day enactment of a vintage WWII RCAF paratrooper’s uniform

 

 

Newly elected MNA David Birnbaum represented the Government of Quebec and expressed great appreciation to the veterans gathered at this annual event. The British Consul and Israeli Consul General Joel Lion also thanked those who served oversees and laid wreaths commemorating their sacrifices on behalf of their respective countries. Former MNA Lawrence Bergman was on hand as was former Councillor Isadore Goldberg as well as Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg, Police Commander Marc Cournoyer, Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson, a contingent from the volunteer Citizens on Patrol under Supervisor Susie Schwartz and members of EMS. The RCAF band provided musical accompaniment.

In my own effort to capture a snapshot of history and pass on the messages of our dear veterans please watch the following short interview with Branch 97 President Frank Levine, Sidney Barnett and my dad, George Nashen.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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V-E Day commemoration ceremony in Côte Saint-Luc on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 11 am

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The annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration takes place on Sunday, April 27 at 11 am at Veterans Park, in the city of Côte Saint-Luc.

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.

“It is important to express our gratitude to the men and women who have fought to liberate Europe,” said Ruth Kovac, who is the co-chairperson of this event with Councillor Allan J. Levine. “Our veterans also ended 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.”

Victory in Europe (V-E) Day was May 8, 1945, the date when the Second World War Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany. The cenotaph at Veterans Park honours the memory of those who gave their lives in the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War.

“I encourage everyone to come on April 27 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.”

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.

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

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