November 10, 2017 7:40 pm
Updated: November 10, 2017 7:42 pm

How Remembrance Day helped forge special friendship between 5-year-old girl, Second World War vet

Fri, Nov 10: Despite an age difference that spans nine decades, five-year-old Raegan has become best friends with a WW2 veteran. Jasmine Pazzano has more on why Nov. 11 will be a big day to remember for Ivan and Raegan.

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For a five-year-old girl from Bowmanville, Remembrance Day has very special personal significance, as it brought her a special friendship with a veteran.

Despite an age difference that spans nine decades, Raegan Boone and 95-year-old Ivan Cote have been inseparable ever since they met two years ago when Raegan was handing out homemade poppies to veterans at a Remembrance Day ceremony.

Cote happened to be one of the veterans to receive one, and from there, the two hit it off and forged an unlikely, but strong bond.

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READ MORE: Remembrance Day: How Global News is commemorating Nov. 11

“I thought it was really wonderful, she’s such a little tyke too,” Cote said about meeting Raegan. “She bumped me on the shoulder and wanted to know if she could do it [pin the poppy]. And from then on, we became great friends. I think a lot of her.

“She also reminded me of my two girls too.”

Raegan’s mother, Lindsey Boone, has had a front-row seat to the blossoming friendship, having been there at the time of their first meeting. She was hopeful from the beginning that they would stay friends.

“It’s important for her to appreciate him [and the veterans] throughout the year and not just Remembrance Day and we were able to make that happen with the help of his family,” she told Global News.

“I hope she understands the sacrifices that these amazing people have made for her and everyone else, and that it’s really important to our family,” she told Global News.

Lindsey said their first visit after that Remembrance Day ceremony was Cote’s birthday, so Raegan and the family went over and ate cupcakes and sang Happy Birthday.

READ MORE: Remembering them: How many of these Remembrance Day facts you know?

On other visits, the two may play pool, colour or play chess — “anything they can keep busy doing together.”

Cote served as an aircraft mechanic in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.

To most, he’s a war hero, but to Reagan, he’s simply her best friend.

This Saturday marks the third Remembrance Day the two will spend together, but unfortunately, it may be their last.

READ MORE: Millennials more likely to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies: poll

Cote is moving from his home in Whitby to a retirement home in North Bay next week, and he knows he may never see Raegan again.

“I’m nearly 96,” he said. “It can be a sad thing, too. But I hope she remembers me when she’s growing up. She’s a wonderful little girl.

“I will be thinking about her every Remembrance Day.”

The feeling is mutual for Raegan, who said she and Cote will be “friends forever.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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