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A salute to our Veterans on the eve of V-E Day

Veterans and dignitaries. I am third from the top left.

The annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration in the City of Côte Saint-Luc took place on Sunday, May 1. Due to inclement weather we could not have it at Veterans Park, so we moved it inside to the Council Chamber for a very dignified and well run ceremony, which highlight the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Europe from the armed forces of Nazi Germany, on May 8, 1945.

The room was crowded, but with very few young people.

In attendance were members of the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, our entire city council, Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg, Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum and members of the diplomatic corps. The room was full, but with the exception of the relatives of some of the veterans and others in the room the lack of youth in attendance was once again very evident. This was an exercise of authentic learning. We still have veterans who fought for this country among us. I spoke to many of my colleagues after the event, notably Councillor Allan J. Levine. He is our liaison with the Legion. His late dad was a veteran. Allan was a school teacher.

“If the students do not come to us, we must go to them,” Allan stated.

I agree whole heartedly.

Some of our vets.
Jeremy Nashen

My colleague, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, brought his nearly seven year old son Jeremy to the event. Jeremy is a sharp kid and he knew exactly what this ceremony was about. It does not hurt that his grandfather George Nashen is a veteran.

Councillor Ruth Kovac was there with her mom, Ilse Zilversmit, 89, a survivor of the Holocaust. They laid a wreath along with Ruth’s daughter Debra and her two little girls.

Ruth Kovac, her mom daughter and grandchildren.

Housefather noted how this was his first time speaking at this event as one of 338 Members of Parliament who now decide whether to send our troops off to war. He spoke proudly of his government is giving more funding to veterans’ hospitals and to soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder upon returning from action.

MNA Birnbaum linked this ceremony to Yom Hashoah, the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day and the annual commemoration which will take place on Wednesday, May 4 at the Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation in CSL. The Quebec government formally acknowledges this day thanks to the actions of Birnbaum’s predecessor Lawrence Bergman, who was also in the room.

Mayor Brownstein lays a wreath.

Mayor Brownstein noted how the veterans who fought for our country “are our heroes, which is why we mark VE Day each year.

Mary Eileen Earl from the United States Consulate made quite the presentation. She told us that she volunteered to represent her country at this event. Why? It turns out that she was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps, who now works as a Foreign Service officer. “I have served my country since the age of 17,” she said. “Canada is my 13th country.”

CSL native Michael Polak, who serves as Honourary Consul for the Netherlands, spoke as did Rabbi Michael Wolff and Father Peter Laviolette and Police Station 9 Commander Jean O’Malley. The Maple Leaf Wing Concert Band played beautiful music to fit with the theme.

US consul
Mary Eileen Earl from the US Consulate.

Congratulations to our staff, notably Laura Trihas and Jordy Reichson, for putting together a first class event. We will reconvene for Remembrance Day on November 11 at the cenotaph at Veterans Park, which 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 Bernard Lang Civic Centre, 5801 Cavendish Blvd.

A nice reception was held after the program.

To see all of the photos taken by our Darryl Levine click here.

Councillor Nashen wrote this excellent blog.


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