I was approached by a lady, following I lecture I gave in Belleville, Ontario, recently. The comment
she gave, surprised me, “You have the ability to inspire patriotism.”
My first thought on hearing her say this was WOW! Since them, I have been trying to understand why she might feel this way. I have gone over my lecture again and again. I spoke about my books, Warships Of the Bay of Quinte and White Ensign Flying, discussing the accomplishments of the ships and the relationship to the communities, including Belleville.
I also spoke about the importance of telling our stories, not just as a nation, but also as a community and as individuals. I stressed the experiences we have today, make up the ground work of our future history.
I closed the lecture with, “History paves the way to our future. We are all responsible to tell our stories. If we fail, our destiny, is to be forgotten!”
I believe, as Canadians, we want to be patriotic. For the most part when talking about Canada to people from other nations we spend more time explaining “Our Home And Native Land.”
No, I don’t live in an igloo.
Yes, the trees really do change colour.
It’s July, don’t bring your skis.
Yes, your correct, but only some of our police ride horses.
Sorry, I don’t know Bobby in Victoria.
Yes, we have had the internet for some time.
No, we don’t have American bacon in Canada, we just call it bacon.
On one occasion when my wife and I were travelling, a gentleman continued to inform me how cold Canada was, despite my explanations of our weather. Finally out of sheer frustration, I stated, “No it doesn’t snow all year in Canada. The snow is gone by the end of July and doesn’t come back until the beginning of August!” I then walked away.
This was immediately met by a dressing down from my wife.
These misconceptions about Canada stem from, we don’t tell our own stories. We need to tell our own stories and promote our history in all aspects education, advertising, entertainment and literature. When you look at what Canadians have done in the past and the accomplishments that are taking place right now, we as a nation have a truly unique and incredible story to tell.
I honestly believe that each of us want to stand and be proud of Canada, after all many Canadians proudly display our flag when we travel. Personally, I am amazed at the incredible reception that small lapel pin receives from so many nations.
At home, we see a growing spirit of patriotism, not the “In Your face” kind, but a more subtle wave. This was truly evident during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Canadians “From Sea to Shining Sea,” gathered together to watch our athletes compete. O’ Canada could be heard wherever Canadians gathered to celebrate, and not the start to a school day anthem, but a rip-roaring, pride filled rendition.
More recently at the World Juniors Hockey, the anthem was sung when the Canadians won the gold, The crowd stood not at attention and still, but arm-in-arm swaying and belting out the lyrics, as if a classic rock song was being sung. Now that’s true pride.
I think, as Canadians, we need an excuse to allow us to show our pride in our nation and therefor patriotism.
More importantly we need patriotism to be “OK.”
On that idea, we have to realize, it is OK to be proud of our accomplishments as individuals, as a community and as a nation.
It is OK, to be proud of own individual accomplishments, because these will strengthen our community.
It is OK, to be proud of our community, because a strong community is filled with opportunities.
It is OK, to be a proud Canadian, our nation with patriotism will remain, “The True North, Strong and Free!”