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Navy thanks Sarnia’s ‘flag lady’ with special ceremony

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Troy Shantz
The Royal Canadian Navy came to Sarnia last week to conduct a special service at the home of a city woman renowned for flying different flags each morning.

Members of the reservist HMCS Prevost raised the Naval Ensign and thanked Lucienne de Vries for her civic spirit during the colourful military ceremony in front of her McCrie Street home.

Similar flag-raising ceremonies take place on Canadian Navy ships and bases daily at 8 a.m.

The event both honoured de Vries for boosting community morale while commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, said Sub-lieutenant Mara Pritchard, a public affairs officer.

“In my time we haven’t done this at someone’s house, but I also haven’t heard of someone putting forth this initiative,” she said.

To the delight of her neighbours, de Vries, 80, raises a different “flag of the day” from a pole in her front yard, choosing from a large collection started by her late husband Luke.

The Navy became involved after learning about de Vries in a recent Sarnia Journal article, explained Chief Petty Officer Amy Rooney.

Oct. 21 is also Niobe Day, which marks the arrival of the HMCS Niobe in Halifax in 1910, becoming the first warship in the new Naval Service of Canada.

“I learned something new about history,” said de Vries, who took in the ceremony with neighbours.

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