True north strong and free

 

I love my country of Canada! I am patriotic though in a quiet reserved kind of way – so typically Canadian.

Patriotism means having a devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country.[i]

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In the words of these youngsters from Ontario,[ii]

“I’m proud to be a Canadian because we can do anything we try. I’m proud to be a Canadian because we’re allowed to believe in God.”

– Malcolm, 10

“I am proud to be Canadian because this country is strong, bold and beautiful. Canada is multicultural and accepts immigrants for who they are and accepts their country and colour, sharing its beauty with every country in the world. Canada has very generous people who are willing to give to other countries and Canada is peaceful.”

– Marika, 9

“I am proud to be Canadian because Canada is a free country. It’s one of the best countries in the world because I have one of the best families, friends and live in one of the best countries ever!”

– Peter, 9-1/2

“I’m proud to be Canadian because the soldiers stand on guard for thee!”

– Alex, 10

This last statement took on a deeper meaning for Canadians as we recently lost two brave soldiers killed during the line of duty. Both incidents were senseless unspeakable acts.

We were shocked…heartbroken…outraged…united in grief.

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From sea to shining sea we locked arms and hearts…Canadian flags popped up on Facebook profiles…we tweeted up-to-the-minute news.

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Annual poppy sales had not yet begun before appreciative Canadians dug out last year’s “oh so Canadian” Remembrance Day tradition. We wear them with pride, as sorrow is still fresh in our souls.

 

 

I noticed something as we drove home from church today…banners hung with pride, each bearing poppies and a single name of one fallen. Perhaps they’ve been there other years, but today they meant something more profound.

A single red maple leaf is our increasingly cherished national symbol. Our flag holds it high, though it was lowered just twelve days ago to honour the fallen. It is proudly displayed on locally produced bottles of maple syrup and its shape is molded into maple sugar candies, both exported worldwide. Many of us, in the days following the tragedies, wore a maple leaf or red as we are honored to identify with our land that promotes “freedom of opinion, thought, belief and expression, freedom of conscience and religion, and freedom of association and peaceful assembly”.[iii]

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According to one survey, the maple leaf was the overwhelming choice for our national icon.[iv] When I return from travel outside our great country, the maple leaf is the first thing I look for. It reminds me I’m home.

“The Maple Leaf Forever”, a song written in 1867 by Alexander Muir upon Canada’s confederation, has been revised a few times. I like the chorus penned by Padre G.E. Benton,

The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear,

The Maple Leaf Forever!

Long may it wave and God defend,

The Maple Leaf Forever![v]

Lee Greenwood wrote “God Bless You Canada” in which he says,

“…the flag still stands for freedom,

and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be in Canada

where at least I know I’m free

And I won’t forget the men who died,

who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,

next to you and defend her still today.

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,

God bless you Canada.”[vi] 

And, of course, our beautiful national anthem summarizes our sentiments as Canadians,

“O Canada! Our home and native land!

True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,

The True North strong and free!

From far and wide, O Canada,

We stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land, glorious and free!

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee;

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”[vii] 

We don’t often hear all four stanzas of our anthem as they sometimes are not favourably viewed in our present era of political correctness and tolerance. However, I believe they summarize my loyalty not only to my country but als0 to the One in whom I find everlasting freedom,

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,        

Hold our Dominion, in thy loving care.

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Help us to find, O God, in thee,

A lasting rich reward.

As waiting for the better day,

We ever stand on guard.

God keep our land, glorious and free.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

Until next time,

Kathy

 

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