Celebrating our nation on Canada Day

Canada Day is that rare opportunity to – for one day anyways – forget about our complaints about society in general and focus on the many blessings we enjoy simply by living in this amazing country.

No, life in Canada isn’t perfect. People face hardships of all kinds, and any amount of prosperity that comes our way from calling Canada home doesn’t extinguish the many harsh realities out there.

But in the broader picture, we enjoy so many advantages and opportunities in this country that can only be dreamed about in other corners of the world.

Most of us have never known what it is to be truly hungry for any length of time. We turn on our taps and can drink the water without fear of being stricken by some deadly disease. We can worship how we choose without fear of significant oppression or governmental interference much less violence.

We have a government that, again certainly not perfect, provides many services that again would be unimaginable in much of the developing world. Our health care system (yes there are flaws) is pretty much always there for us when we need it as well. Some diseases that still ravage communities in other parts of the world are pretty much memories in Canada.

Ultimately, anyone who has had the opportunity to spend time in a developing country knows full well how privileged we are to call Canada home. Just watching the news will give a quick education into the frightening instability so many face as they fight for even some semblance of democracy in their homelands.

So the freedom and peaceful society that we so often take completely for granted is certainly something to be thankful for.

Certainly, these are critical things to keep in mind on July 1 when we are (hopefully) soaking up the sun and counting our blessings.

This year also marks a significant milestone – it’s the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Flag.

According to Wikipedia, in 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson formed a committee to resolve the issue, sparking a serious debate about a flag change to replace the Union Flag.

Out of three choices, the maple leaf design by George Stanley, based on the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada, was selected. The flag made its first official appearance on Feb. 15th, 1965; the date is now celebrated annually as National Flag of Canada Day.

The Canadian Red Ensign had been unofficially used since the 1890s and was approved by a 1945 Order in Council for use “Wherever place or occasion may make it desirable to fly a distinctive Canadian flag”. Also, the Royal Union Flag remains an official flag in Canada. There is no law dictating how the national flag is to be treated. There are, however, conventions and protocols to guide how it is to be displayed and its place in the order of precedence of flags, which gives it primacy over the aforementioned and most other flags.

So this Canada Day, make it special. Take in the beauty of where we live and be thankful for the luxuries and freedom we all enjoy today.

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