Today we celebrate the anniversary of Canada’s national flag. Our national symbol is a Canadian icon that we take foregranted. Flying high on so many flagpoles, tattered and unnoticed. But for many of us Canadians it holds a truly special place in our hearts.
I always enjoyed when our flag was flown from a proper mast and yard, the “Navy way” and determined that when I owned a home, I would build a proper flag pole with a yard. When the opportunity finally arose, I started constructing my flag pole. It is designed to look like the aft deck of a tall ship with a railing on three side of the deck and an old sailboat mast fixed on it with a yard at the top.
As I was constructing this work of “art” my fiancee complained, about the size. I explained this is what I wanted and when finished we would be able to fly the Canadian Flag at the top, the RCN ensign below and another flag. During the three days it took to build, the complaints didn’t stop. Finally when finished I brought my wife to see the finished project, complete with flags flying. I then explained my ulterior motive. We had been discussing where we would be married and still had not settle on a location. as we stood in front of the deck I described how we would stand below the deck, with the padre officiating the ceremony from the deck above and all our family and friends gathered around. Suddenly the flag pole had changed from an unsightly monstrosity, to the magical place we will commit our lives to each other.
Our children took an interest in the flag pole from the beginning, helping to change the flags when worn, changing the flags for special occasions and helping to lower them for more solemn events. No matter what event their was always two flags were flown, the Canadian flag from the mast head and the RCN ensign from the yard.
A few years ago, my oldest son came to me and said, “Dad I want to talk.” When your child says those few words, its amazing the thoughts that can race through your mind before he can say the next sentence.
He explained he wanted to join the Canadian Armed Forces and asked if I would support him. My answer was absolutely. I explained that he didn’t have to follow me and join the navy, there are great trades in the Air Force and Army. He had already decided on the Air Force and off we went to the recruiting office.
Before he left for basic training, we held a going away party. Many of my son’s friends had already joined and were home. I called them together and we went to the flag pole were I gave them the Canadian Air Force flag to raise. Surprised one of his friends asked, “Your not taking down the navy ensign?” Unknown to themI had added a third halyard to the yard and my son and I watched as the RCAF flag was raised beside the RCN ensign. I said to him, jokingly, how hard it was for me to have that flag on my pole. Looking me in the eye, my son stated, “I do Dad and that what makes this so special.”
Today below the red and white flag of Canada all three flags of our military are flown on our family pole. The Canadian Army flag has been added in honour of my grandfathers service during WWII.
For our family the Canadian Flag represent more than our nation, members of our family have and are serving under it, we have become a family standing before it and proudly display it in the most important place in our lives, our home.