D’Arcy McGee medal ceremony honours local activists, including my father, George

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MNA David Birnbaum and George Nashen, 2020 (GJ Nashen photo)

D’Arcy McGee Member of the National Assembly, David Birnbaum, recently honoured a WWII veteran, special needs champion and a community storefront and emergency food-delivery service with D’Arcy-McGee-National Assembly Citizenship medals.

The sixth annual D’Arcy-McGee-National Assembly Citizenship Medals competition took place online on June 16 and recognized “outstanding achievement in community involvement”. The honourees included my dad, George Nashen, in the name of surviving veterans of World War II and those who passed before them, Sima Paris, co-founder and President of the Friendship Circle, MultiCaf, a store-front community outreach and referral service in Snowdon-Côte-des-Neiges and David Lisbona, Côte St-Luc entrepreneur and initiator of an emergency food-delivery network for seniors during the current pandemic.

Over 100 people tuned in including Mount Royal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather, Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg, former local MNA and Minister of Revenue Lawrence Bergman as well as special guest presenter Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire (ret’d).

The event was started by Birnbaum in 2015 and about a dozen medals have been presented since. I was honoured with this medal in 2018.

This year’s honours went to:

Multi-Caf, a community agency that feeds 8000 people each week. They have 25 employees and 230 volunteers.

Tax attorney, investment advisor, town councillor and community activist David Lisbona for the Nellie Philanthropic Foundation that has delivered 2000 grocery orders to seniors across Cote Saint-Luc and the West End. David’s partners in this benevolent venture are Melissa Margles, Pam Kujavsky and Cllr. Mitch Kujavsky.

Sima Paris for the Friendship Circle which ensures kids with special needs are accepted, appreciated and flourish.

Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire (ret’d) delivered a brief address and introduced my dad, George, who turns 97 years old tomorrow. Dallaire was the United Nations Force Commander during the 1994 mission to Rwanda. Dallaire has written about his experience during the genocide in several books including his courageous account, Shake Hands with the Devil. He subsequently was appointed to the Senate of Canada. Currently, he runs his foundation to inspire kids from underprivileged backgrounds to develop leadership skills.

Dallaire said that in the context of the pandemic, “We are at war! We feel the dread of making a mistake and causing casualties.”  He emphasized the important link between young and old in terms of keeping our elders safe.

In introducing my father, Dallaire said “You permitted peace to reign. You are one of our greatest elders. Well done sir. I salute you. The medal is well deserved.”

Wow! What a great honour.

You can watch the entire ceremony below or advance to Dallaire’s remarks at 30:45 or jump directly to my father’s comments at 44:45.

MP Anthony Housefather thanked Dallaire for his remarks and to my father added, “George, you’re a force of nature. Nobody would know you’ll be 97 with your adeptness of technology.”

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Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire (ret’d) to speak at D’Arcy McGee medal ceremony

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Birnbaum to honour WWII veteran, special needs champion, CDN community storefront and emergency food-delivery hero with D’Arcy-McGee-National Assembly Citizenship medals
David Birnbaum, MNA for D’Arcy-McGee, recently announced the winners of the sixth annual D’Arcy-McGee-National Assembly Citizenship Medals competition. A public ceremony in their honour will be held, virtually, on Tuesday, June 16th at 7 p.m. Three individuals and one organization will be recognized for “outstanding achievement in community involvement”. They are George Nashen, 96, in the name of surviving veterans of World War II and those who passed before them, Sima Paris, co-founder and President of the Friendship Circle, MultiCaf, a store-front community outreach and referral service in Snowdon-Côte-des-Neiges and David Lisbona, Côte St-Luc entrepreneur and initiator of an emergency food-delivery network for seniors during the current pandemic.
“This has been an unprecedented and trying time for all us but it has also brought out the very best in so many individuals and organizations in this riding,” said D’Arcy-McGee MNA David Birnbaum. He initiated this citizen-medal program soon after his first election in April 2014. “While the crisis around us is far from over, I think it is always the right time to recognize those who inspire us to do more and do better by our fellow citizens. Even if we can only celebrate this event virtually this year, I do hope it will lift us up at this very tough time. ”
Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire (ret’d) has kindly agreed to deliver a brief address to the Zoom gathering. His own harrowing and heroic experience during the Rwandan genocide, and his outreach efforts since retirement have made him a sought-after public speaker. His Roméo Dallaire Foundation works to inspire young people from underprivileged backgrounds to develop their leadership potential. In appreciation of Mr. Dallaire’s participation, David Birnbaum’s office has made a donation of $1,000 to the Foundation.
The medals ceremony, on Tuesday, June 16th at 7 p.m. will be held by Zoom. Here is the necessary information to join:
Meeting ID: 959 6544 8337
Meeting Password: 466851
Please contact Birnbaum’s office (514-488-7028 or david.birnbaum.dmg@assnat.qc.ca) should you require further details.
Please join me in honouring my father by tuning in on June 16 at 7PM and leaving a message on this blog post. Thank you.
-Glenn

2019_Nashen_Birnbaum

MNA David Birnbaum and George Nashen (Photo: GJ Nashen 2019)

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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

WWII Vet George Nashen to be honoured by National Assembly

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By CJN Staff – January 13, 2020 

Second World War veteran George Nashen, right, poses for a picture with D’Arcy-McGee MNA David Birnbaum.

Second World War veteran George Nashen, 96, will receive a special national assembly medal from David Birnbaum, the MNA for the riding of D’Arcy-McGee, at a ceremony in June.

Nashen will be honoured in the name of all of the men and women who served the cause of freedom in that conflict. Nashen, who lives in Côte-St-Luc, Que., is one of the few surviving Jewish-Canadian war veterans.

In announcing the move, Birnbaum explained that he wanted recognize the contribution of our Second World War veterans while it was still possible. “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 the Second World War 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,” he said.

“Furthermore, this riding that I serve is home to one of the highest number 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.”

George Nashen in 1944.

Nashen is a long-time community volunteer and former clothing manufacturer who held the rank of sergeant in the Royal Canadian Air Force. During the war, Nashen lost a number of dear friends and has always made it his duty to share his experience, particularly with young people.

“I was 19 when I enlisted,” said Nashen, a Baron Byng High School graduate, “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.…

“It’s important for young people to learn about the atrocities and the sacrifices of the Second World War. 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?”

In 1943, Nashen was stationed in London. “I went over on the Queen Mary,” he recalled. “We were 26,000 enlisted men and women; the ship normally carried only 2,000.

“It was a humbling and scary few years. I remember the rumbling of incoming and outgoing bombers overhead, every night in London. The stakes were enormous, and the freedoms we take for granted today were in peril back then. That should never be forgotten.”

Nashen expressed his appreciation for the medal, but stressed that he would only accept the honour in the name of all the veterans.

Each spring, Birnbaum bestows three D’Arcy-McGee national assembly citizenship medals upon individuals chosen for their community contributions by a three-member jury. Nashen will formally receive his medal at that ceremony, which will be held on June 1. The names of all the medal winners become part of the permanent national assembly record and are noted in perpetuity on its official website.

Canadian Jewish News

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.

 

 

A Soviet demonstration in Cote Saint-Luc

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Just when you thought you’ve seen everything…. add a pro-USSR rally next to Cote Saint-Luc City Hall. You heard right.  This past  hour a rally of a couple hundred ex-pats and their descendants from the former republics of the Soviet Union gathered in Veterans Park to commemorate the Soviet victory over the Nazis in 1945.

Russians and Ukrainians unite in Cote Saint-Luc

Russian chants and songs rang out across Cavendish Boulevard as the flag waving crowd grew in size and volume.     There were Russians, Ukrainians and others from the former USSR states that came from across Montreal for the otherwise unexpected rally.

Proud of the Soviet victory. Can you read this banner? Please add your comment.

With loud applause and cheers the group made their way to their cars and began a horn-honking procession. Flags waving from car windows, the parade made their way down Cavendish Boulevard.

    Another commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Victory in Europe comes to a close in Cote Saint-Luc.

CSL commemorates 70th anniversary of D-Day

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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.

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

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