Flag Day?

So, Saturday, 15 February 2020, marked the 55th anniversary of the adoption of the modern Canadian Flag, known, still I think, as the Maple Leaf Flag

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… to many of us who grew up and came of age under the old Red Ensign, which had been in general use for over a century …

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… there had been a bruising national debate about replacing the venerable Red Ensign with something new and distinctively Canadian, which, to many people, meant some combination of less British and more appealing to the parochial, Anglophobic Québec nationalist movement. Finally, our current flag, based loosely on the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada …

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original.850… with a stylized maple leaf replacing the RMC badge, was adopted … many called it the Pearson Pennant,  after Prime Minister Lester B Pearson who pushed it through to completion and to broad, general acceptance. Some, indeed many, used that term to honour Mike Pearson, a few others to disparage the new flag.

While I know there is the occasional nonagenarian veteran who still wants his casket draped with a Red Ensign, almost everyone 310526webI know is proud of our flag and has been since 1965. Many of us served under it around the word. We were proud to wear a Maple Leaf Flag symbol on our uniforms. Too many Canadians have come home with their coffins draped by it …

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… the flag is a symbol we all honour.

There is an official National Flag of Canada Day/Jour du drapeau national du Canada on 15 February; did you notice? One or two MPs made announcements …

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… but, by and large it passed unnoticed.

Now, I am often critical of our American neighbours, our best friends and our protectors I hasten to add, and of Canadians who want to copy American customs, some of which, I think, raise bad taste to new heights … or lower it to new depths, if you will. But they do, usually celebrate their Flag Day (often a Flag Week) on or around 14 June, with (generally) appropriate pomp and reverence. Maybe Canada should follow suit.

Today, the third Monday in February is a holiday ~  Family Day, Islander Day, Louis Riel tenor (1)Day ~ in many Canadian provinces. Why not make in a national holiday, from sea to sea to sea, to honour our Canadian flag? It could be just plain Flag Day. After all, we all know the maple leaf is our symbol, and we all know we’re in Canada … it’s damned cold in most of the country in mid-February, so maybe that’s an appropriate day for a national holiday. It doesn’t have to be a statutory holiday, it can be observed at provincial discretion ~ Québec is highly unlikely to want to celebrate the Maple Leaf Flag ~ but there should be some public events in as many places as possible to remind us all of our shared history, heritage and values.

 

3 thoughts on “Flag Day?

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