Last week, at the age of 86, Al passed away. I first shared my memories of Al on the 60th anniversary of D-Day. In the mid 90s, when I was putting in 1.5 years as a McEmployee at the Runnymede and Bloor location, Al came in daily for a coffee, burger and chat.
In July of 2004, I wrote about Al once more after reading about his horrid living conditions. He lived in a room less than 100 square feet and without running water. He cleaned himself with a sponge and a basin and used a ceramic bucket for a toilet. Later that year, the Globe and Mail ran an article questioning Al's World War II claims. This angered many who felt Al was living a lie. I didn't feel anger, as I wrote at the time, 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 was not deplorable but pitiable.
Rest in peace, Al. We won't forget.