19. October 2012, 15:26 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

A recent story came to my attention that revolves around an artifact in the Canadian War Museum. It is an unusual artifact to find in such a place being a little girl’s coat. It was sent to me by Eric Fernberg, Director of Collections and Programs at the museum. It is quite poignant, and shows the gentler and more humane side of war stories beyond the blood and combat. As next month is November and as Remembrance Day approaches, I would like to share it with you.

It is the cold, cruel winter of 1944. Bob Elliot is a young Canadian soldier stationed in northern Holland. Everdina Cretier is a little girl in a family trying to survive the turmoil of ware and the approaching winter. In the spirit of friendship, the Cretiers become a surrogate family for the allied soldiers, and Bob and his comrades befriend Everdina and her family.

Bob and his regiment know that weather conditions will get worse over the next few months. Showing the compassion that Canadian soldiers are known for, the regiment gathers brass buttons from their greatcoats and cloth from their army-issue blankets. They find a seamstress who creates a one of a kind winter coat for Everdina.

On Christmas morning, 1944, Everdina is presented with her special gift, and through tears of joy tries on her new coat and finds it a perfect fit!

In 1981, thirty-seven years later, Bob has the opportunity to visit Everdina and her family in Holland. Everdina is at the airport to meet him adn time vanishes. Bob sweeps Everdina into his arms and twirls her around. They fall in love and soon marry. Bob and Everdina decide years later that the legacy of her very special coat should be cherished and experienced by all Canadians. And so they donate Everdina’s coat to the War Museum thereby ensuring the story of the Little Girl’s Dutch Coat will live on.

There are many stories like these; stories that need to be preserved and shared with future generations - lest they be forgotten.

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Categories: ,
Keywords: Little Dutch Girl,coat,remembrance



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