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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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

CSL marks Victory in Europe Day with pomp and ceremony

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Daily Mail front page 8th May 1945. Headline 'VE-Day- It's All Over

Daily Mail front page 8th May 1945. Headline ‘VE-Day- It’s All Over

On this appropriately dreary, drizzly Sunday afternoon, the City of Cote Saint-Luc commemorated V-E Day at City Hall. The ceremony was held in a jam-packed Council Chamber as veterans and family members joined local dignitaries and residents to pay tribute to the veterans of WWII, as well as the Korean War and other conflicts that the Canadian Armed Forces participated in such as in Bosnia and Afghanistan. Also, recognized were the victims of the Holocaust as well as the survivors.

WWII veterans at CSL City Hall, including Eddy Wolkove (seated left), Allan Rubin (seated right), former cllr. Isadore Goldberg and George Nashen

WWII veterans at CSL City Hall, including Eddy Wolkove (seated left), Allan Rubin (seated right), former cllr. Isadore Goldberg and George Nashen

CSL Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson ably served as master of ceremonies. Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion local president Frank Levine read the ceremonial poem, “At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We Will Remember Them”. Wreaths were laid by all level of government as well as by representatives of the US, the Netherlands and Israel.

Veterans of WWII are joined by municipal, provincial and federal representatives along with consuls of the US, the Netherlands and Israel

Veterans of WWII are joined by municipal, provincial and federal representatives along with consuls of the US, the Netherlands and Israel

This was Anthony Housefather’s first VE Day commemoration in his capacity as Member of Parliament. He delivered his signature passionate and emotional address gripping the audience, once again without any prepared text. “On behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Government of Canada, and in my own name, I think you, veterans, for your sacrifice and for your service, for returning home and for building a great nation and this wonderful City of Cote Saint-Luc,” he said to applause.

Honour Guard Flag Bearers representing CSL EMS, vCOP and the Royal Canadian Legion

Honour Guard Flag Bearers representing CSL EMS, vCOP and the Royal Canadian Legion

Also in his first major public event appearance was newly minted Mayor Mitchell Brownstein. Impressively, he followed in his predecessor’s very large footsteps by addressing the audience with eloquence and passion, again with nary a note in sight. “You have built our wonderful city, you have volunteered and you have given so much of yourselves,” the mayor said. “This is our moment to thank each of you, to recognize your important contributions.”

V-E Day commemoration 2016

V-E Day commemoration 2016

D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, an articulate and skilled public orator, echoed the sentiment of offering thanks to the veterans, an important and much revered constituency in his provincial riding. Michael Polak, Honourary Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and a self-described “son of Cote Saint-Luc”, pointed out that the reason we have four generations of Cote Saint-Lucers, ample volunteers, a high level of local services and beautiful homes is because of the veterans who returned from the war to build the community with great pride.

The 306 Maple Leaf Wing Concert Band belted out military bugle calls and music of that era, along with the national anthem.

Four generations: Survivor Ilse Zilversmith, Cllr. Ruth Kovac, Debbie Kovac and Nicole and Danielle Jutras lay a memorial wreath for victims of the Holocaust

Four generations: Survivor Ilse Zilversmit, Cllr. Ruth Kovac, Debbie Kovac and Nicole and Danielle Jutras lay a memorial wreath for victims of the Holocaust

While the number of veterans sadly continues to dwindle I once again pay tribute to my own father, George Nashen, who was in attendance today in full regalia. A sharp and spry 92 years young, my father  fluttered around the room as he might have done back in the days in service uniform, joking with his buddies and hobnobbing with dignitaries, all of whom know him by first name, as he does theirs.

Montreal Police Station 9 Commander Jean O'Malley deposits a wreath

Montreal Police Station 9 Commander Jean O’Malley deposits a wreath

As a graduate of Baron Byng High School in 1939, he joined the rush to enlist in the Canadian Armed Forces together with so many classmates including, Joel Gertel, Jay Singer, Lenny Keller, Saul Finesilver, and Eddy Wolkove. After basic training at Toronto Exhibition Grounds for six weeks at the age of 19 he was posted to Rockliffe Airport just outside of Ottawa. Much to his surprise, he failed Air Crew in the Canadian Armed Forces due to a previously unknown colour blindness. Therefore, he served in accounting, his intended profession, having previously worked for Richter for  3 1/2 years out of high school.

After a six month stint at Rockliffe he boarded a train for Halifax to meet up with servicemen from across Canada. An unimaginable 26,000 troops crammed aboard the HMS Queen Mary, built to comfortably hold about 2,000 tourist passengers. The Queen Mary could out-speed all the German U-boats so no escort was necessary unlike most ships traversing the ocean.

Posted to Linton in Yorkshire for a short two weeks he was then transferred to London where he served in the United Kingdom Base Accounting Unit at Harrods of London.

Three generations of CSLers: Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen, RCAF Veteran George Nashen and Jeremy Nashen

Three generations of CSLers: Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen, RCAF Veteran George Nashen and Jeremy Nashen

My father’s duties in the RCAF from 1943-1946 included handling pay for all RCAF servicemen and women stationed across Europe and Africa.  And while he would endure persistent bombardments, blackouts, rationing and the daily fear of war as did the common Londoner, his buddies would not be so fortunate as many never returned. Such was the case for Joel Gertel and Jay Singer, childhood friends, killed in action.

Veterans George Nashen and Allan Rubin along with Mayor Mitchell Brwonstein, MNA David Birnbaum and MP Anthony Housefather. Also with CSL Men's Club President Sydney Kronish.

Veterans George Nashen and Allan Rubin along with Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, MNA David Birnbaum and MP Anthony Housefather. Also with CSL Men’s Club President Sydney Kronish.

My father recalls V-E Day, May 8, 1945 with acuity. He was outside Buckingham Palace with tens of thousands of troops and civilians celebrating the end of the war. He stayed on in London until April 1946 in order to handle the accounting of all those slowly being repatriated to Canada.

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

So as we commemorate the 71st anniversary of V-E Day, today’s ceremony, and the stories we learn, serve as a reminder to offer thanks and appreciation to our veterans for enabling the following generations to live in peace in one of the best places to live anywhere in the world.

 

Cllr. Allan J. Levine and Branch 97 President Frank Levine

Cllr. Allan J. Levine and Branch 97 President Frank Levine

 

Fekllow Dutchmen: Cllr. Ruth Kovac and Hon. Consul Micahel Polack

Fellow Dutchmen: Cllr. Ruth Kovac and Hon. Consul Michael Polak

 

Celebrating US relations: NY born Franci Nashen, Cambridge, Mass. born Phyllis Nashen, Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen and US Consul Mary Eileen Earl

Celebrating US relations: NY born Franci Nashen, Cambridge, Mass. born Phyllis Nashen, Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen and US Consul Mary Eileen Earl

 

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Read more on Cllr. Mike Cohen’s blog.

Sidney Zoltak’s Silent Pledge

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There wasn’t a dry eye in the Cote Saint-Luc Council Chamber last week as Sidney Zoltak launched his new book: A Silent Pledge, A Journey of Struggle, Survival and Remembrance to a capacity crowd of over 200 supporters.

Born in Poland, Sidney Zoltak was eight at the outbreak of WW II but survived with his family intact. Following two years in Italy as a refugee, Sidney and his mother came to Montreal where he finished school and began to exercise his natural inclination as an entrepreneur, becoming an insurance agent in 1965. Sidney is an active member of the community, affiliated for years with the Yiddish Theatre and the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, and is dedicated to educating youth about the Holocaust.

Sidney Zoltak reads a passage from his new book, My Silent Pledge

Sidney Zoltak reads a passage from his new book, My Silent Pledge

A longtime Cote Saint-Luc resident, Sidney Zoltak is well known as having co-chaired the annual Montreal Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration, also held in Cote Saint-Luc. Zoltak has lectured to school children and adult audiences for many years about his personal experiences surviving the Holocaust and has travelled on the March of the Living.

A child survivor, a child of survivors and a grandchild of a survivor, Sidney Zoltak is all these things. His story about a family that struggled and endured, the generosity of those who saved them against all odds, and a vow never to forget is a remarkable journey through the Holocaust into a rich and full life. At eight, Sidney loses a middle class home and goes from the slow death of the ghetto into the terror of hiding in forests, barns and finally, a hole in the ground provided by a Polish family farm. But when war ends, there is no going back. The Zoltak family makes their way to Italy where young Sidney encounters a generosity of spirit that helps to heal war’s wounds and prepares him for life in Canada. Sidney Zoltak’s chronicle is a lesson in the importance of honouring your story for the generations to come. (Source: Guernica Editions).

A capacity audience at Sidney Zoltak's book launch on Nov. 21

A capacity audience at Sidney Zoltak’s book launch on Nov. 21

When Sidney Zoltak’s son Larry called me about a venue to hold this book launch I immediately suggested that the CSL Public Library was where this event take place. It soon became evident that great interest in this event meant that the library itself was not even big enough and hence the launch took place in the Council Chamber. Even so, interested friends, residents and enthusiasts overflowed out into the hallway.

Congratulations to the Zoltak family and bravo to Sidney. This book will be sought after in our library, at book stores and online. It will serve as an important learning source for generations.

Holocaust memoir book launch attracts huge audience (The Suburban)

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

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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

Students pay tribute at Hampstead Remembrance Day ceremonies

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Bright skies and a cold breeze greeted more than one hundred and fifty people who assembled at the Town of Hampstead cenotaph for the 2013 Remembrance Day ceremonies Thursday, November 7 at noon.  Public Security Lieutenant Mike Fitzpatrick blasted commands in true military style as the soldiers of the Royal Montreal Regiment Branch 14 and members of the Royal Canadian Legion assembled their colours before a large audience of school children from Hampstead School, Solomon Schecter Academy, JPPS and Bialik High School.

Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 14 assemble at Hampstead cenotaph

Members of the Royal Montreal Regiment Branch 14 assemble at Hampstead cenotaph

Mayor Bill Steinberg welcomed members of his council as well as Councillor Ruth Kovac and myself who were representing the City of Cote Saint-Luc along with Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson. Also in attendance were Station 9 Police Commander Marc Cournoyer and his Lieutenant J.P. Theoret, Mount Royal riding Chief of Staff Howard Liebman, Montreal Torah Centre’s Rabbi Moshe New, Adath Israel’s Rabbi Michael Whitman as well as holocaust survivors and other dignitaries including former Councillor  Bonnie Feigenbaum and Isadore Goldberg.

Mayor Bill Steinberg and members of Hampstead Town Council along with CSL Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac

Mayor Bill Steinberg and members of Hampstead Town Council along with CSL Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac

One by one the various school classes were called up to the microphone to recite poems and sing songs of remembrance in honouring those who had fallen to protect Canada and the world, those who were injured in the line of duty, those who serve today in peacekeeping roles around the world as well as to those who perished in the Holocaust at the hands of the nazis.

CSL Cllr. Ruth Kovac lays a wreath at the Hampstead cenotaph as Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen looks on

CSL Cllr. Ruth Kovac lays a wreath at the Hampstead cenotaph as Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen looks on

Howard Liebman’s words echoed across the chilly field:

On this 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we pause in tribute and we remember.

We reflect on all of those who fought in the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, and those who participated in peacekeeping missions around the world. We remember as well those murdered by the Nazis in the Shoah, and pay tribute to the survivors.

This is also a time to reflect on those currently serving our country abroad including those selfless individuals who are involved in peace operations to help bring about security and stability around the world.

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the infamous Evian Conference, the 75th anniversary of Kristalnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) and the 65th anniversary of the Genocide Convention (the Never Again Convention) and of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

At this moment of Remembrance and Reminder  – of Witness and Warning – our Member of Parliament, Irwin Cotler, reminds us that Canada’s veterans have fought dutifully and courageously for their country and the preservation of peace, security, and human rights abroad. We can all take pride in their service.

We Remember. Nous nous souvenons. 

Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 14 talking with the school children

Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 14 talking with the school children

Cllr. G.J. Nashen, PS Dir. J. Reichson, Cllr. R. Kovac, Cmdr. M. Cournoyer, Lt. JP Theoret, PS Dir. Michel Pilon

Cllr. G.J. Nashen, PS Dir. J. Reichson, Cllr. R. Kovac, Cmdr. M. Cournoyer, Lt. JP Theoret, PS Dir. Michel Pilon

A day of remembrance, honour and appreciation

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Victory in Europe Day was marked today in the City of Cote Saint-Luc.  This annual event marks the day in history that ended World War II.  In Cote Saint-Luc we have held our annual commemoration on VE Day for nearly two decades as our veterans have grown older and November 11 has become too cold for them outdoors and it is difficult to draw a crowd.

Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veterans Park

Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veterans Park

The event is held in Veteran’ Park on Cavendish Boulevard next to City Hall.  Dignitaries including diplomats and elected representatives from all levels of government join with clergy, veterans and their families, city staff, emergency personnel and volunteers to mark the solemn occasion.

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I was particularly pleased to have my three year old son and 10 year old daughter join me and my wife along with my father, 89 years old and a veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force.  My father served in London, England and shares his memories of the bombardments and of friends who never returned from the front lines.

Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Emergency Medical Services honour guard

Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Emergency Medical Services honour guard: Kelly Malka, Louis-Pierre Fournier, Adam Gossack

Mayor Anthony Housefather never disappoints with his traditionally passionate speech of appreciation to those who served and to those who returned to build our city and community.

Howard Liebman, Chief of Staff to Mount Royal Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler gave an eloquent speech on behalf of the MP.  Cotler was in Jerusalem on this day.  Liebman’s speech highlighted the numerous interventions by the MP to signal gross violations of human rights, genocides and unspeakable atrocities that continue around the world.  He said that it is the obligation of all free people to speak out against such horrors such as that which is going on today in Syria, Iran, on the African continent and other hotspots around the world.

Police Commander Sylvain Bissonnette and Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson

Police Commander Sylvain Bissonnette and Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson

D’Arcy McGee Member of the National Assembly Lawrence Bergman spoke of the importance to respect those currently serving.  He singled out the PQ’s Bill 14 as being fundamentally unjust to those serving in Quebec in the Canadian Armed Forces who would be forced to educate their children in French rather than English   The provision in Bill 14 would add a level of stress upon the soldiers, Bergman said, should they be transferred with their families to another province where there children would then be at a disadvantage in an English school.

MNA Lawrence Bergman

MNA Lawrence Bergman

As the City Councillor responsible for Public Safety I was honoured to join Cote Saint-Luc Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson in laying a wreath on behalf of the department. The department includes EMS, vCOP, Public Security, Emergency Communications and Emergency Preparedness.

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The event was emceed by the Legion’s Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 president, Frank Levine. The co-chairs were Councillors Ruth Kovac and Allan J. Levine.

Members of the Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Citizens on Patrol

Members of the Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Citizens on Patrol

The hot sun and slight breeze was comforting for the aging veterans, who, sadly, are fewer in number each year.

Mayor Anthony Housefather with veterans looking on

Mayor Anthony Housefather with veterans looking on

Dutch Honourary Consul and Cote Saint-Luc resident for 25 years, Michael Pollak, noted that while not nearly enough Canadian kids are conversant and knowledgeable enough about WWII, that is certainly not the case for school kids in the Netherlands.  Pollak said that the lessons and experiences of the war are etched into Dutch psyche, and his countryman know full well about the heroic liberation led by Canadian soldiers, some of whom were likely sitting right before him in today’s crowd.

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

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

The 306 Wing Maple Leaf Concert Band:

Read more on Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog

Global News coverage

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Veteran Michael Kutz

Veteran Michael Kutz

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Howard Liebman delivers a stirring message

Howard Liebman delivers a stirring message

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Mayor Anthony Housefather with veterans looking on

Mayor Anthony Housefather with veterans looking on

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Legion member Sandy Bernstein

Legion member Sandy Bernstein

vCOP Team Leader Elaine Meunier

vCOP Team Leader Elaine Meunier

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V-E Day commemoration ceremony in Côte Saint-Luc on Sunday, May 5, 2013

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Royal Canadian Legion

Royal Canadian Legion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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 will commemorate Victory in Europe (V-E) Day on Sunday, May 5 at 2 pm at Veterans Park.

 

“My generation and those of my children and grandchildren will never be able to fully pay back the Canadian soldiers who fought to defeat tyranny during the Second World War,” said Ruth Kovac, who is the co-chairperson of this event with Councillor Allan J. Levine. “By liberating Europe our veterans also ended the genocide against the Jewish population of Europe and others targeted by the Nazis.”

 

VE Day parade in Cote Saint-Luc 2008

VE Day parade in Cote Saint-Luc 2008

Councillor Levine said we must continue to honour those who have served and those families who lost loved ones for our country.

 

“I encourage everyone to come on May 5 and show support for our veterans who still continue to do so much for our community and look after their own,” Councillor Levine said. “Indeed, this year our veterans raised more than $31,000 during last November’s Poppy Fund Campaign. Those funds were 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.”

 

Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veteran's Park

Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veteran’s Park

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.

 

VE Day 2008: Mayor and City Council with Parade Marshall Bob Feldstein in CSL Veterans Park

VE Day 2008: Mayor and City Council with Parade Marshall Bob Feldstein in CSL Veterans Park

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.

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

Victory in Europe commemorated in Cote Saint-Luc

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Each year Cote Saint-Luc salutes its veterans and remembers those who have passed.  V-E Day takes place on the first Sunday in May.  Unfortunately, the crowd of veterans grows thinner each year and those still attending grow a little more frail, a little older.  Their ages have now reached the upper 80s and many into their 90s.

The Cote Saint-Luc ceremony is solemn and meaningful.  Remarks are given by members of the Royal Canadian Legion, the diplomatic corps, municipal officials and a military band and trumpeter provide musical accompaniment.  The Master of Ceremony was Frank Levine, a veteran of the Second World War and local Legion president. The event co-chairpersons were councillors Allan J. Levine and Ruth Kovac.

I have been attending the Cote Saint-Luc ceremony for some 32 years since I first joined the CSL Emergency Measures Organization in 1979.  Back then, EMO members would march, 30 or 40 strong, from 8100 CSL Road to the CSL Shopping Centre where we would meet up with hundreds of veterans, firefighters, police officers, soldiers, scouts and other volunteers.  The larger parade, including marching bands would make its way further down CSL Road to the reviewing stand near the fire station and the parade would assemble at the old cenotaph at Father Foley Park between the fire station and the post office.  Hundreds of spectators would line the street.

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Today’s assembly is smaller.  The event is simpler.  But it is still very important to remember.  Mayor Anthony Housefather spoke eloquently about the veteran’s returning from WWII who built CSL into a modern and thriving urban city.  He thanked them for their dedication in building our community.

I am fortunate to once again have attended with my father, George Nashen, a veteran of the RCAF who served in England from 1942-1946.  I salute him, the members of the Brigadier Fredrick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion and all those who served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

We will remember them.

View more photos on the Cote Saint-Luc Flikr page.

Read more on Mike Cohen’s blog.

Read more in the Suburban.

Veterans’ Day 2011

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Make remembrance more than something you feel.

Make it something you do.

CSL City Council honours its veterans in front of the cenotaph

Every year the City of Cote Saint-Luc honours its veterans who established the bustling suburb when they returned home after the Second World War.  Their numbers may grow smaller year after year, but our resolve to remember and to honour their service and their sacrifice grows stronger with time.

Standing at Attention: The Cote Saint-Luc Cenotaph

As our veterans began to age, the City started commemorating Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) each May, when it was easier for the vets to gather outside in warmer weather than on a typical November 11th.   The local Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion nowadays spends Remembrance Day indoors at the commemoration at the YMHA on Westbury Ave in Snowdon.

George Nashen

This year, I’m very proud to honour my own father, George Nashen, who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII.  Like many others in his class at Baron Byng High School he rushed to volunteer despite being on the young side. and to the chagrin of his protective mother.

My father was stationed in London, England where he was posted to the accounting division to handle the mountains of paperwork pertaining to supplying the troops serving overseas.  While he didn’t see the front lines, many of his close friends did, never to return.  On many occasions, the bombardment over London forced him to take cover with many close calls – one such bombing just a few blocks away blowing out the glass doors to his bedroom.

George Nashen and grand-daughter Nicole at 2011 CSL VE Day ceremonies

After the war, my father was one of the builders of modern Cote Saint-Luc, marrying and moving in during the boom years of the 1950s and starting a family.  Like so many Cote Saint-Luc families with similar stories, ours has been here ever since.

My father continues to be a role model for our large and expanding family.

On this Remembrance Day, I stand with my father and our entire family and salute our 700,000 veterans and remember those who served and made the supreme sacrifice.

We will remember them.

V-E Day commemoration ceremony in Côte Saint-Luc on Sunday, May 8, 2011

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The annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration ceremony in the City of Côte Saint-Luc takes place on Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 2 pm at Veterans Park.

The City of Côte Saint-Luc and the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion organize the V-E Day event, which commemorates the victory of the Allies over Nazi Germany.

“As someone born in The Netherlands after the Second World War, this ceremony is particularly meaningful as it commemorates the liberation of my country of birth by my country of welcome,” said Councillor Ruth Kovac, who is the co-chairperson of this event with Councillor Allan J. Levine. “By liberating Europe from Nazism, our veterans also ended the genocide against the Jewish population of Europe.”

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.

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.