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New book celebrates century of friendship across borders

At 9:06 in the morning of December 6, 1917 in the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, two ships collided. Minutes later there was an apocalyptic explosion followed by a blizzard of flying glass, splintered wood and white hot metal falling from the sky. In an instant, almost 2,000 people lay dead and another 9,000 wounded, and thousands left homeless. – From Suzanne Pasternak’s new book ‘The Story of the 1917 Halifax Explosion and the Boston Tree’.

The disaster set in motion a rescue mission between Canada and the United States of unprecedented compassion, mercy and heroism that evolved into an eternal friendship between the state of Massachusetts and the people of Nova Scotia. To this date, every year a special thank you gift is sent to Boston from the people of Nova Scotia symbolizing peace, hope and light in the darkness – a towering Christmas tree.

Every year at Christmas time the people of Nova Scotia send a towering Christmas tree to Boston as a thank you for their help after the disaster. This tree stands as a symbol of friendship and 30,000 people attend its lighting ceremony – this year to be held Nov. 30 on the Boston Commons.

Suzanne Pasternak

Suzanne Pasternak will share more on the story of helping hands across borders, and the tree, when she launches her newly published book “The Story of the 1917 Halifax Explosion and the Boston Tree” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 at the House of Falconer, 1 Walton St., Picton. Dec. 9 is the 100th anniversary of the Bostonian rescue mission reaching Halifax 30 hours after the explosion.

Pasternak has spent close to four years researching the 1917 Halifax Explosion. A multi media storyteller, Pasternak honed in on a compelling and dramatic tale, to tell it simply.

“It is extremely challenging to take a massive and horrific topic, strip away layer after layer until you reach the living heartbeat of the story,” said Pasternak. “Instead of archival photographs, I hired a young illustration student from Sheridan to do the artwork. Hayden Maynard spent his whole Christmas holidays three years ago working on these illustrations. They are as powerful to the story as my words.”

Pasternak is also shining a light on the incredible friendship between Canada and the United States.

“We are always there to help each other in times of need, without hesitation. We need to remember that in these times when the world around us is so full of hate and aggression. Katrina, 911, ice storms, the hurricane in Houston, there is always helping hands across our borders.”

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  1. Sandra Dowds says:

    I have just finished reading in the Legion magazine a fascinating article by Sharon Adams about the Halifax Explosion on December 6, 1917, one hundred years ago. I look forward to seeing Suzanne’s presentation and getting a copy of her new book.

  2. Karen Smith says:

    Hi, Suzanne, I’m so happy for you and what a wonderful looking book. Am not home right now to buy a copy but will contact Josie and Mary Esta about this. Congratulations, dear heart. Love always, K

  3. Cheryl Anderson says:

    Congratulations on a special project finally realized, Suzanne.

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