Yesterday morning, 8 of July, Mr Pierre
Lecat is gone - or "Tchou Pierre" as we all called him. I went to his burial
and funeral mass that afternoon and I wanted to write a little about that
special character of Hamel.
Pierre was well known by the inhabitants. And those who have assisted
to ceremonies here have certainly noticed him. He was one of the few "flag-bearers"
of the village as a veteran of the Algeria War. A dozen of his fellows
where here at that afternoon and the tricolour he was so proud covered
Pierre has been a village employee for years. Before he worked as
farm worker and at the local factory. Seing him working in the streets
was a common sight. I remember him, when I was a kid, with his hand bell
screaming in the street to announce the local news. He was then equipped
with a megaphone and hearing him was quiet an experience. Before and after
his retirement, Pierre volunteered to look after our church, especially
the heating or ringing bells. Among the numerous services he gave, he used
also to sell the veterans calendar. I remember how on that occasion my
mother offering him an orange juice. He did refused because - one have
to say it - Pierre enjoyed too much a good beer and wine... And maybe it
explains his death. But one can guess that his old single life was not
always very happy.
He was a very sensitive man with tears in his eyes at masses or
at ceremonies. He said it was because it "reminds him his comrades
at war and his sister". He never missed a Franco-Australian commemoration,
a very serious matter from him. Last ANZAC Day, he was nearly too cry because
many people asked him why he was not without his flag. What he was not
Pierre, you have always been there when needed, sure you will always
be in our memories.