Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In the last week, both of our two nations celebrated their “national birthdays” within days of each other, as they always do. Canada Day was July 1st, and of course your Independence Day was July 4th.

I hope this year it was a good celebration for everyone!

Both nations have much of which they can be proud. Our countries are democracies, and best trading partners. Our border is peaceful, and our friendship endures. Our people live by the rule of law, and though that law is not perfect, it serves us all well.

Often, I’ve lamented that if we as Canadians have a flaw, it’s that as a people, we tend not to show our patriotism.

This year, perhaps because we were fortunate enough to have their royal highness the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge come to Canada, I was aware of our patriotism on display, more so than in years past. I saw much more flag waving this year than I’ve seen in quite a while.

My beloved and I spent Canada Day at the home of one of his co-workers. Situated in a small rural community—not even a village, really—our host’s home is on a corner piece of property, lush with trees, and soft lawn.

This community of not more than two dozen homes, I guess you could call it a ‘pocket’ village, as it occupies a pocket formed by a short road that meets a provincial highway on both ends.

And this community, on Canada Day, had a parade!

There were no marching bands, and no drum majorettes—although there was one fire truck. This parade consisted solely of Canadians, men, women and children filled with National pride, and unashamed to show it.

About twenty or so vehicles comprised the body of this parade, trucks decorated with lots of flags and streamers in red and white. One truck, a flat bed, had lawn chairs on it, and people sitting, waving their flags, tossing candy to the crowd, wishing everyone either “Happy Canada Day!” or “Happy Birthday!”

I was impressed by the smiling faces and the enthusiasm of the people—fully three quarters of the population of this community—who in their pickup trucks, or classic cars, drove slowly the one mile parade route, encircling the community.

Some of the partiers enjoying our hosts hospitality, tagged along at the end of the parade, bedecked as they were in their special “Canada Day” t-shirts and cowboy hats.
This humble yet proud parade made me realize that you don’t need anything fancy to display your national pride. You only need to stand up and be willing to show everyone how you feel.

There was a lot of fervor in Ottawa, our nation’s capital, on Canada Day—what some have called a “love fest” between those Canadians who gathered on Parliament Hill, and the visiting Royals. Every time Prince William mentioned the name of his wife, the cheers went up. And there was great cheering when he said he brought best wishes from his grandmother, “The Queen of Canada”.

I hope those of my friends who are Americans had a similarly moving and patriotic holiday. I hope you waved your flag, cheered your veterans, and ate some apple pie.

We do have much to be proud of here in North America, and much to be grateful for, too. And I, for one, am going to try to remember to be proud and grateful on a more regular basis.


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