Happy Canada Day & Happy Insurrection Day!

Okay, I’m just kidding about the second one. But please, American friends, forgive me. My branch of the Stackhouse family fled north at the time of the Revolutionary War to remain loyal to the Crown. Things do get sorted out, however: My entire family of origin have become Americans, and two of our three sons are dual citizens. I myself was recently pronounced “bicultural” by an American friend, which she meant, and I received, as a high compliment.

So here’s today’s question. When you Americans celebrate Independence Day—and when you Canadians celebrate Canada Day—what do you do, or participate in, that has actual content?

We might eat special foods in the company of special people, yes, and perhaps end the day with fireworks. But that’s all completely generic celebration. What is particularly American or Canadian in your day? What happens on July 1 or July 4 that reminds you of your country’s heritage, identity, mission, what-have-you?

I’m wondering if patriotism has burned so low now in most of our lives that aside from perhaps hanging a flag out front, we aren’t hearing or saying or viewing or otherwise doing anything that fills these national days with any actual content.

True in your case?

0 Responses to “Happy Canada Day & Happy Insurrection Day!”

  1. Richard

    It seems my patriotism ends up connected with recent political policy too often. When I am pleased with it, and feel that our government represents what I think of as Canadian values, I am proud, but when I am displeased with it, all of Canada is merely symbolic. I think that’s very short-sighted of me.

  2. Brian Moss

    Thanks for the post. I had the privilege of being in Canada on the 1st and in the US for the 4th. As far as content goes, I will be reading Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Good words! http://tinyurl.com/9tjz6n

    “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

  3. smokey

    This year, a friend encouraged me to read the Declaration of Independence as well. The nation with its blessings and its challenges received special attention in the prayer before the meal, and the children in our family put on a patriotic talent show where they waved flags and sang songs. Patriotic music is a big part of my family’s celebration of the 4th. I made it a point to sing America songs to my son today. We have some truly beautiful songs with some noble lyrics written about the USA.

  4. Debbie

    I just spent my first 4th of July overseas – in the Middle East. Though it is very likely I will make this my permanent home because my work is here, I have gained a great appreciation for the United States than I have ever had before.

    Certainly, being in a different culture opens your eyes to both the good and the bad in your own culture. My appreciation for the United States is not without frustrations as well, but I do thank God that I was born in America and that gratitude has deepened having spent a significant amount of time away.

  5. Mike in Maryland

    We live outside of Washington D.C., but for the last few years, instead of going downtown on the 4th, my four kids, eight and under, festoon their bikes with streamers and baloons and have a mini-parade down our street. I walk in front of them with a tape player playing John Philip Sousa marches. So far no other neighbor has joined our just-post-breakfast march.

  6. Bennett

    sitting around our grill as we awaited fireworks
    I asked if anyone wanted to discuss the American Revolution
    I heard nervous laughter

    the group could not respond
    they all thought about something different

    one was eager, but didn’t want to sound like a nerd
    one was embarrassed because they weren’t sure about the difference in the Revolution and the Civil War
    one was chagrined because they thought I was starting a political discussion

    so I sliced up a water melon and we watched fireworks in peace

  7. J

    To celebrate Canada Day, I read some of Chester Brown’s graphic novel “Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography” about one of our nation’s more important figures whose contributions are, in true Canadian fashion, downplayed.

    I then finished up writing a sermon-story that included a description of the lakers that ply the waters of the Great Lakes and their canals.

    I topped it all off by listening to Stuart Maclean’s show, The Vinyl Cafe (heard on CBC radio). In typical Canadian fashion, I used American technology (iTunes) to listen to Canadian content.

  8. francois taylor

    The best way to approach this question of the meaning a day like Canada day might have is, you have guessed, from a historical perspective. On Saint-Jean-Bapptiste (June 24th) the Québécois enjoy celebrating their history and their joy of being who they are because their long and tumultuous journey have led them to develop an acute sense of their being a distinct people. English-speaking Canada had a different experience. The different forces and events that shaped its imagination and sensibilities have contributed to make it what it seems to be: a quiet and serene people that is totally fine with keeping a low profile and being low key.

  9. SursumCorda

    This year I spent my (American) Independence Day on the first leg of a 1200 mile trip to celebrate the bi-cultural marriage of our daughter to a Swiss gentleman. The officiant, also Swiss, is a Regent graduate and between the two of them they are the reason I follow your blog.

    Normally, however, I would be celebrating in what to me is the quintessential American way: marching in a parade in the small town of Geneva, Florida. Where but in America can you find a town that welcomes to its parade a marching band that gets together once a year on the day of the parade and practices for all of half an hour — yet can still sound good when it’s not goofing around? Civil War reenactors who are proud of both the grey uniforms they wear and the blue uniforms in which their ancestors fought? A young black woman proudly singing the Star-Spangled Banner with a Confederate flag in the background? On July 4 in Geneva you can hear an unabashedly Christian invocation, and patriotic speeches given by ordinary citizens rather than politicians. There will be a military fly-over and prizes for the best-decorated horse. Cow-chip and log-throwing contests. Home-grown musical entertainment, and homemade desserts. I’m a Connecticut Yankee by heritage and a Northeasterner by birth and upbringing, but on July 4, Geneva, Florida is my home town. This is my country, well worth celebrating.

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