Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday's Words for July 1, 2009

The beginning of July brings celebration and commemorations for Americans and Canadians alike. For me personally, July has always been the first real month of summer, and the busiest month for family birthdays. We used to call it Christmas in July.

My brother celebrates his 65th today—July 1st—my mother’s birthday was July 5. We lost her in 1976 but the next year, on her birthday, my Anthony was born. His sister followed one year later, on the 13th; and our wedding anniversary is the 14th. My birthday, by the way, is the 21st – the same as Hemingway’s.

Anthony passed away on July 30th. This year will mark the third anniversary of that horrible day, so July really does run the gamut of emotions for us.

The nation’s birthday, Canada Day, is also today, July 1st. As I think I mentioned at least once before, when I was a child and extremely gullible, my brother had me convinced the parade in Hamilton was in honor of his birthday. We used to attend the parades, when I was smaller. For a child, nothing is quite so satisfying of the need to explore one’s imagination than a parade.

I haven’t attended one in person in years. These days I prefer the comfort of my living room and the television set, but even that I haven’t done in a while.

I expect that we Canadians do much the same things to celebrate our nation’s birthday as you Americans do. We do have parades and picnics in the park. We have dances in some places, and craft fairs. Many community celebrations include bands performing throughout the day, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, soda, ice cream, cotton candy and, of course, fireworks.

The main street of our small town is dotted with red and white, as a Canadian flag adorns every lamp post. Many individuals also have a flag adorning their home to mark today.

The Ashburys have one year-round.

Despite what some may think, Canadians aren’t less patriotic than Americans, but we do tend to be a bit shy to show our patriotism. I suppose that is a legitimate Canadian trait. After all, our country was birthed, not by revolution, not by the shining ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but by an act of British Parliament. All in favor, say ‘aye’.

Last year at this time my beloved and I were in Pennsylvania, and on July 4th attended the ceremony in Philadelphia at Independence Hall. I have a post card, showing that wonderful building, tacked to my bulletin board here in my office. I look at it nearly every day. It was an experience neither of us shall ever forget.

I suppose that I, like many people, take for granted how fortunate I am to live in a country that is governed by the rule of law, where I have reasonable expectations of safety and security. Where there can be a parade down Main Street and the last thing you would ever think would happen is violence of any kind.

Sometimes, I think we need to remember that not all the world is as blessed as we, in our two countries, are.

So let’s all take a few moments on our respective National holidays to give thanks that we live where we live; to remember that, for both our nations, soldiers fought in two world wars, and continue to fight and be vigilant today so that we might enjoy the fruits of peace and liberty.

And let’s be thankful we have each other. We’re good neighbors and trading partners. We’ve been fast friends for many years, with many more years to come.

In just 5 days the doors will open. Will you be ready?

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