Toronto Mike



I've written about Al before.  You can read what I wrote about him to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day here.  Also, I posted this picture of Al here.

When I worked at McDonald's as a teenager, he was a regular customer.  He was often sporting medals from the second world war and telling stories about it.  He was our token local war hero and he had a leg missing to prove it.

Today's Globe and Mail has an article about Al.  I'd link to it, but I can't find it online.  Apparently, Al's stories are rather suspect.  Military experts say the Black Watch uniform he wears to Remembrance Day parades is not authentic.  They also say it's not possible he participated in all the Second World War campaigns he claims to have participated in.  The Black Watch unit he claims to have belonged to never took part in D-Day.

Al lied to us.  His stories no longer have credibility.  The Al Bloor West Village thought they knew does not exist.  I'm not angry about this fact but saddened.  Al is 84 years old, living in a garage with no running water and confined to a wheel chair.  He did serve in World War II and he did lose a limb.  He defined himself as a veteran and made up stories about where he served and who he served with in order to validate his existence.  The fact Al felt he had to do this is not deplorable but pitiable.

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