In the midst of the Second World War, while firing at German soldiers on the other side of the Maas River in the Netherlands, the tank crew of Bob Elliott, a Canadian soldier from Olds and Calgary, found laughter and hope in an energetic 10-year-old Dutch girl named Sussie Cretier. Sussie’s family had escaped the Nazis to the safety of the Allies. Sussie sang songs for the soldiers, asked questions and lifted everyone’s spirits during a painful time in all of their lives. The soldiers ‘adopted’ Sussie as a fellow soldier and sewed ‘soldier’ stripes on the torn sleeve of her old green jacket. They allowed her to sit inside their tank while they were firing at the Germans, they gave her family food and provided chocolate and gum treats for Sussie and her brothers. On Christmas Day 1944, the Canadians presented Sussie with an Army-style coat they had asked a local seamstress to make from a wool Army blanket. The buttons on this little coat came from the soldiers’ tunics. Sussie held on to that coat for decades, cherishing it as the most special gift she had ever received. Almost 40 years later, Bob Elliott returned to the Netherlands and reconnected with Sussie and her family. Bob and Sussie fell in love and she followed her favourite soldier back to his home in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. They were married in 1985 and since 1987, have split their time between Edmonton and the Netherlands, participating in Remembrance Day and Liberation Day ceremonies in both countries. Sussie’s coat is on display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. $ 1 from every book sold will be donated to the Royal Canadian Legion.