Royal Canadian Legion General Wingate Branch #256 honours 202 Canadian Jewish World War I heroes at a monument dedication.
by Alan Simons
It rained throughout the morning. Yet, last Sunday, October 6 in Toronto, our war veterans, their families and friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, young and old, came out to pay their respects to 202 Canadian Jewish WWI war heroes at a monument dedicated in their honour.
Those attending the dedication included, the Hon. Julian Fantino, Canada’s Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Hon. Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources; Norm Kelly, Toronto Deputy Mayor; Irit Stopper, Israel Deputy Consul General to Toronto & Western Canada; Ontario Provincial Police Inspector Rohan Thompson; Rabbi Lazer Danzinger, Captain, Canadian Armed Forces; Walter Vaughan, Deputy Zone D3 Commander, Royal Canadian Legion; Cantor Gord Lindsay and Piper Jack Jackson.
Norm Kelly, Deputy Mayor of Toronto in his speech made reference to the inclement weather by saying it was a fitting tribute to those who had lost their lives in the mud and squalor of the trenches.
Significant by their official absence were Toronto’s top Jewish lay-leaders. Presumably they deemed the event not important enough to attend. After all, our Jewish war vets are mere ordinary people, most without clout and old. Besides, it was raining.
But, in their absence we saw such things as Canada’s Minister of Veterans Affairs get up from his chair and escort the event chair, 92 year old Murray Jacobs, to the podium by holding on to his arm for support. A little insignificant item perhaps. However, it helped to make us realise how appreciative we should be of all the Murray Jacobs of this world. Mr. Jacobs enlisted in World War II, where he served in the engineering battalions. He was sent overseas and eventually went ashore at Juno Beach in the week after D-Day. His regiment fought through Normandy, the Netherlands, and into Germany.
There were plenty of Murray Jacobs present on Sunday. Regrettably, all too many to personally thank here.
To quote Winston Churchill: “I cannot but think we have much to be thankful for, and more still to hope for in the future.” (To Prime Minister David Lloyd George, December 9, 1918)
For us Jews a component of our future surely must contain a place for remembering our war heroes of time past and also those who serve in Canada’s military today. We must never forget them!
Top photo: The Hon. Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs / MP Vaughan (6th from right) and the Hon. Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources / MP Eglinton-Lawrence (8th from right) flank Immediate Past President/Event Chair, Royal Canadian Legion, General Wingate Branch #256 Murray Jacobs,Wingate President Gerry Rosenberg; Bugler Tom Moffat; Rabbi Lazer Danzinger, Captain, Canadian Armed Forces & Wingate #256 Chaplain; Irit Stopper, Israel Deputy Consul General to Toronto & Western Canada; Harold Davis, Wingate #256, 3rd Vice President; Norm Kelly, Toronto Deputy Mayor; Minister Oliver; Murray Jacobs; Minister Fantino; Walter Vaughan, Deputy Zone D3 Commander, Royal Canadian Legion; OPP Inspector Rohan Thompson; Wingate’s Moe Polansky; Cantor Gord Lindsay; Piper Jack Jackson. (Photo credit: Nicola Betts)
Check out all of our latest jewishinfoNews videos