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County branch in Tree for Boston ceremony

Nova Scotia Mass Choir at the Halifax ceremony

Nova Scotia Mass Choir at the Halifax ceremony

Every year, Nova Scotia sends a Christmas tree to the people of Boston to say thank you for their help in the aftermath of the 1917 Halifax explosion.  This year’s Tree for Boston ceremony included a touch of Prince Edward County.

Suzanne Pasternak. - Graham Davies photo

Suzanne Pasternak. – Graham Davies photo

The County’s Suzanne Pasternak, a former Massachusetts resident, was among the hundreds gathered for the 1,117-kilometre send off late last month. The tradition inspired her to write a song called ‘We Will See You Through’ with the County’s Mark Despault, of Digby and Tom Leighton, formerly of Moncton.

Pasternak spent the past year negotiating with Boston City Hall, The Boston Children’s Chorus, The Nova Scotia Mass Choir and the Marketing Department of the Government of Nova Scotia to have the song performed at both tree ceremonies.

She was inspired while writing a book for young readers about the Halifax Explosion of 1917 and the heroic involvement immediately given to the city by the people of Boston. On Dec. 6th, 1917, a massive explosion rocked Halifax when the Norwegian supply ship Imo collided with the French munitions ship Mont-Blanc, causing the largest man-made explosion the world had ever seen. Close to 2,000 people were killed, hundreds wounded, 1,600 homes were destroyed.

In 1918 Halifax sent a Christmas tree in thanks. That giving of that gift was revived in 1971.

“This annual Tree for Boston tradition is a stellar example of both international relations and one of the finest models of hope and courage born from the most tragic events in Canadian history,” said Pasternak. “It is a great honour for me to be the representative from the writing team at such an important, heartfelt event.”

At the ceremony she was advised the Ministry of Natural Resources had sent the song to 130 school kids in Truro who were going to perform the song live as the tree came through town later that day.

Pasternak’s book, titled “Heroes Without Borders….the Story of the Boston Christmas Tree” is expected to be ready for release this month.

“I really felt that that the relationship between Canada and the United States should be honoured,” says Pasternak. “We live in peace, side by side and are there for each other without hesitation whether it is the Halifax Explosion, Katrina, 911, on and on,” Pasternak said. “The Halifax ceremony took place just a few days after the terrible event in Paris and the plight of the Syrian refugees. These events added a very sombre and thoughtful feeling to what it is our two countries are honouring every year by the gift of this tree.”

The tree-lighting ceremony on Boston Common Thursday, Dec. 3 attracts about 30,000 people.

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  1. Cheryl Anderson says:

    Wow, Our Suzanne has done it again! Congratulations on continuing your stellar writing and song writing career.

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