MONTREAL -- Veterans at a Royal Canadian Legion branch in a Montreal suburb were in tears Thursday after vandals spray painted their building with slogans like "Free Quebec'' and the letters FLQ.
It's the second time in less than a week that a well-known symbol of Canadian unity in Quebec has been targeted.
Local branch president Irene Tait says she is appalled and sad, adding her phone has not stopped ringing since word got out.
She said one 87-year-old veteran was particularly upset.
"The man had tears in his eyes and he kept saying `I don't understand, I don't understand,''' Tait said.
Last week, the acronym for the Front de liberation du Quebec, the terrorist group from the 1960s, and the French words for "traitor'' and "bastard'' were spray-painted on the family crypt of former minister prime minister Pierre Trudeau.
The words "Papineau cell of the FLQ'' was also painted on the Trudeau tomb in St-Remi, south of Montreal.
The graffiti on the side of the legion appeared to praise the vandalism in St-Remi.
In French, someone had painted the words "Bravo to the Papineua Cell.'' The word Papineau had been misspelled.
*snickers* dumb *** punks.....
Montreal police spokesman Laurent Gingras says it's possible the two incidents are linked.
"No arrests have been made yet,'' Gingras said Thursday.
"We don't know if we dealing with someone who's doing some copycat work or not. We're gonna see what the investigation tells us.''
Tait said the incident has had an impact on many veterans at the branch.
"They're not even so much angry, they're sad,'' she said.
"It's like a knife in their heart, they just walk away and shake their heads (and say) 'We don't believe this, we don't believe this.'''
It was also the second time in less than six months that the legion in the suburb of Lachine was targeted.
In December 2007, FLQ and Quebec Libre showed up in blue paint on the cenotaph in a neighbouring park.
Joe Elias, a Montreal comedian, held a benefit comedy night last Friday which raised $1,000 to pay for repairs.
"I think everybody felt good about Friday, you know, money was raised and then you wake up a few days later and here it is again,'' he said.
"It's an act of cowardice, that's all it is.''
Elias had harsh words for the vandals, who he described as children.
"Even if they're 50, they're children, because their mind hasn't developed fully.''
He also called the spray painting of Trudeau's tomb "disgraceful.''
It's disrespectful to his memory, but also to his family,'' he said.
Elias said he was amazed there was no real security around the tomb.
Late Thursday, Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson and Public Works Minister Michael Fortier issued a joint statement condemning the vandalism.
"It is deeply disappointing that anyone would deface a gathering place of our honoured Veterans," said Thompson. "We join all Canadians in denouncing this act of disrespect for our nation's truest heroes."