'Quite an honour': Cape Breton WWII vet, 96, receives Quilt of Valour
A Second World War veteran in Cape Breton received a special handmade gift honouring his service on Sunday.
At the age of 96, Greg MacNeil is the last surviving Second World War veteran at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 78 in Dominion, and for that he received the Quilt of Valour.
“It’s very good. It’s quite an honour,” says MacNeil
The Quilt of Valour is handmade to thank and support those who served. These works of art are a tribute to the service and sacrifice of the recipient.
MacNeil says he was assigned one of the most dangerous jobs on the day the war ended.
“I was an infantry signaler and the first fella they’d take out would be you, rather than take out an officer,” recalled MacNeil.
Rhoda Moore is with the Quilts of Valours society in Halifax and made the trip to Cape Breton for the presentation.
She says there are approximately 185,000 Veterans, many of whom are eligible to receive a Quilt of Valour. She says to date the society has presented nearly 16,000 quilts.
“We try to have in some cases a theme, so lots of quilts will come with something like this one, with something to do with Canada. We will use fabrics that have a Canadian theme or the story of the quilt will be along those lines,” said Moore.
MacNeil’s daughter Monica says the pandemic has taken its toll on her father.
In the past year he’s lost the ability to walk, and is not as mobile as he used to be pre-covid19. But his spirits are much better now that restrictions have started to ease - and he is looking forward to attending Remembrance Day ceremonies in his community.
“This year we will be able to take him out. We will be able to take him to the legion ceremony, which he attended every year, except for the last two years because of COVID,” says Monica MacNeil.
Greg MacNeil celebrated his 96th birthday this past May, with police, family, friends and members of the community parading past Taigh-Na-Mara nursing home.
This quilt is another way to say thank you.
“Just in time for Remembrance Day. It will come in handy. I’ll have to wear it over my back.” said MacNeil.
For now, it’s a salute to a veteran who gave us the freedom we enjoy today.