At least a few million dollars went op in smoke and sparkles last week-end as both Canadians and Americans celebrated their birthdays- Canada on July 1, and the US on July 4…. and as you would expect with such close birthdays, the two countries may appear a lot alike on the surface, but there are fundamental differences in attitudes and beliefs. A good example is in the way we express our national pride.
When I lived in Lexington, Mass., I was amazed at how often I would encounter busloads of tourists come to follow the story of Paul Revere and the Boston Tea Party. They came to tour the old buildings, to see how people lived in those times, to look at the monuments and the historical plaques, – and to take pride in their history…Lexington is just one of many towns and cities across the US that play host to many thousands of proud Americans wanting to celebrate their heritage. In fact Americans can be quite boisterous in their pride. to the point that they can be disliked in some parts of the world, even unwanted, certainly misunderstood.
Canadians, on the other hand, tend to be rather modest and quiet in their pride. I have a good reason to be proud of my heritage… my family, on both sides were among the earliest settlers in this country, both my mother and father can trace their roots back to the mid 1600's. The first Daoust arrived as a tailor, making uniforms for the French Army – interesting, that talent with needle and thread has been passed down from generation to generation. Except for being among the first in Canada, there is little remarkable about our history except that we were among the early pioneers… perhaps the most remarkable characteristic is that we have been adventurers – our name can be found all along the early fur trails, and now, probably across the US and in many parts of the world. I take pride in this history and our role in creating a free world – but like most Canadians, I probably won't do much about it, and I don't often talk about it…. except to toast the country on our birthday.
However we celebrate our nationhood, I am happy that we do, in whatever ways we wish… no matter our country of birth or of residence, taking pride in our country is what ultimately protects us from allowing terrorism to hold us in fear…. Canadians and Americans arrived in this land from earliest times as a way of claiming their freedom… being lands of the free is worth celebrating – honouring – and protecting, not just from terrorism but from racism and any expressions of hatred…. we are growing up year by year, becoming wiser and more thoughtful, more caring – and thank heaven also more loving… this too is worth celebrating..
At the end of the day we are all One… each a unique expression of the One… our national allegiances won't matter much on the other side… we are One Nation under One Source – what will stay with us, is the love, gratitude and respect that we shared for each other and for our country… No matter where we live, we are each charged with the responsibility of leaving the world a better place.. celebrating our nationhood is a great reminder of this plan.