• Carmen Marie Fabio

Fitting finale for flag flap


PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

The torn and tattered fl ag that had been flying in front of St. Patrick Elementary School in

Pincourt has been replaced now that the cold snap of weather has passed.

A World War II veteran and Vaudreuil-Dorion resident who was upset at the tattered state of the Canadian flag flying in front of St. Patrick Elementary School in Pincourt can now salute the brand new maple leaf adorning the pole.

“It’s been like that for weeks now,” said 88-year-old Leonard Comeau in a phone call to Your Local Journal. “I thought they would go out and change it after the bad weather. They didn’t do anything about it but they did change the Quebec flag. That’s what bugged me – they changed one and not the other. That doesn’t work with me.”

Reached on the Monday following the March break week, St. Patrick School administrator Lorrie Pompeo confirmed the flag was finally changed Monday morning, March 9 when the temperature hovered around -1° C. “It was only because the cord had been frozen solid. We had tried many times,” said Pompeo. “But it’s been changed and it looks beautiful.”

Pompeo said the flags normally last about a year before being replaced. Along with other veterans, Comeau has been visiting an elementary school in Hawkesbury for the past 15 years to talk with the children about World War II and the importance of the Canadian flag. “I tell them, when you’re driving with your parents and sitting in the back seat, and you see a flag flying somewhere, say to yourself, ‘That’s my flag.’ As soon as I walk in the classroom, they remind me of that. Kids remember those things.”

Comeau entered the Navy at the age of 16 in 1942. He fought in the North Atlantic, Italy, Sicily, Casablanca, and Algiers. He used to make the trip to Hawkesbury with six other veterans but is now the last surviving member of the group.

Comeau said he often hangs flags on a flagpole in his yard on various occasions throughout the year and has also encountered a subsequent number of flag thefts.

“I’m a veteran and I fought four and a half years for my country,” said Comeau. “I didn’t care to see my flag ripped up like that. I don’t like it at all.”

Comeau described the ritual he performs with old flags flown from fire trucks once they’ve become frayed and tattered.

“I burn them,” he said. “I don’t toss them in the garbage. I give them a fitting send-off. You don’t throw flags in the garbage.”

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