Canada turned 144 years old Friday and that anniversary was celebrated in a markedly different fashion in Morinville and at Edmonton Garrison. The former was a simple small town celebration the likes of which could have taken place 100 years ago; the latter, a massive undertaking to rival the largest of festival celebrations in any nation. But at the heart of both initiatives was a desire to celebrate the birth of a nation and the pride we Canadians have in being Canadian.
As this editorial hits print our American neighbours (neighbors for our American neighbours) are celebrating their national holiday. Americans have always been great flag wavers, proud of their flag, proud of their country, proud of their military and proud of what they believe to be American exceptionalism. And while their patriotism and love of country has often been defined as jingoism outside the UDSA, it is their form of patriotism and outside our right to question its sincerity.
We Canadians have always been more subdued in our patriotism, seldom wearing it on our sleeves but always in our hearts. We got to see that Friday and how it manifested itself in different ways. We saw it in an Elder from Alexander First Nation performing a smudging ceremony in St. Jean Baptiste Park to bless the day. We saw it in heads raised to watch an F-18 fly by in honour of our country and the military that serves it. We saw it in the families eating a simple picnic in the park and in the throngs of people at the base partaking in Sturgeon County’s second Sturgeon County Bounty. It was present in the old man hanging his country’s flag in his yard and it was there in the removable tattoo on a young child’s cheek. And everywhere it was – it was first in the heart.
It was that sense of heart, generating a pride in our country, that prompted the County to step up to host a Canada Day extravaganza at the base and it was there in the hearts of the 30-some volunteers who in the wee hours of the morning, before Morinvillians awoke, put more than 1,700 little Canadian flags on the lawns of residents. A simple action and gesture to say Canada Day is back in Morinville. – SD
FOR THOSE who missed our Canada Day photo coverage, here are links to our two photo galleries.