• James Parry

Parrywinkle, June 1, 2017

With the clock ticking down to the 73rd anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy on June 6 - forever known as D-Day and to be remembered at a very special luncheon at Hudson Legion Branch #115 next Tuesday on the very same date - this week's column is devoted to all Veterans and their families and friends everywhere. Albeit it with a distinct Hudson twist.


NEW LOOK CENOTAPH - Beginning with an update on the new look Cenotaph outside the Legion and Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre on Beach Road, a federally-recognized war memorial and the only one of its kind in Vaudreuil-Soulanges County.

For the past 18 months or so, proud Hudsonite Michael Elliott, currently the Legion's 1st Vice-president, has been on a mission. To win a government grant to help finance a major upgrade of the Quarry Point stone memorial built just after World War II that will see appropriate landscaping and planting, new bronze plaques, and a low black chain link fence similar to those around many other such cenotaphs throughout North America.

While that mission continues and with no financial support from the Town of Hudson whatsoever, I learned this week from Michael that he is confident of victory in the coming months. And for the full story and how perhaps you can help him make his vision a reality, click here. It's a wonderful initiative and truly worthy of the community's support!


ON JUNO BEACH - Meanwhile, right now at the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France, where the Canadians stormed ashore on that fateful day 73 years ago, there is a most moving and emotional giant exhibit titled From Vimy to Juno: Remembering Canadians in France dedicated to the memory of Canadian soldiers who fought there in both World Wars.

And long-time Hudsonite, Philip Habib, went the extra mile to make it possible together with his Dorval-based company, PNH Solutions, which employs so many from throughout our immediate region. They were commissioned to create and complete the main scenic element of a stainless steel monument that honours the over 52,000 Canadian soldiers killed and buried in France during both global conflicts.


A SALUTE TO ROBERT - And now a belated birthday salute to a very special local Veteran who turned 95 years young on May 16. Namely, Robert Routledge who was President of the Ste-Anne's Association of War Veterans Inc. for many years and who has always had the welfare and wellbeing of his fellow comrades close to his heart.


While shopping earlier this week, I had a delightful chat with his daughter, Linda Routledge, who works as a cashier at IGA Hudson and who is very proud of her dad, and rightly so. “He is and was a stalwart supporter of any and all Veterans and he did all he could to help them,” said Linda. “When the transfer of Ste- Anne's Hospital to the province was announced, he fought hard to make sure that the status quo of all the patients there would remain as is. And he succeeded in doing just that.”


Evidently, when signing up to fight overseas, he also succeeded in convincing the powers-that-be that he was actually 18. He wasn't. He was 17. “Yeah, he lied about his age,” laughed Linda. “But he was so eager to serve!”


And serve he did. Although when D-Day came around, he was not on the beaches in France. He was fighting for his life and that of his brothers-in-arms in Italy along with thousands of other Canadian and Allied D-Day Dodgers as they came to be known in a good-humoured way.

So a big Happy Birthday Robert. Stay strong. And your fellow Veterans salute you!