Today is Canada Day, and like most Canadians, I’ve always been taught to respect this day like no other. It’s time to celebrate the country that us soldiers work to protect.
At Canada Day celebrations, you can always tell the military people in the crowd, because when the national anthem begins to play, they all come to attention, with both feet tightly together, arms firmly down at their sides and all muscles tightened and they will stay that way until the end of the song. You will never hear them singing along or talking until it has finished. The respect is so palpable that I think it oozes out into the air, affecting everyone else who is close by.
I know that in the four generations of my family that have served in the Canadian forces, all of them have joined because they wanted to protect this fantastic country that we all get to call home. I was brought up to understand that we were lucky, as Canadians, to have the freedoms that we experience every day, and occasionally take for granted. I know people say this all the time, but it is only when you have travelled to less fortunate countries, that you can understand just how blessed we all are. Actually, even to have travelled to those countries isn’t enough; you have to experience them and be entrenched in them. Mark has been to Afghanistan and witnessed first hand the atrocities man can commit. Remember how precious that freedom really is.
For me, there’s always some added excitement for the Canada Day weekend, because my birthday comes very shortly afterwards on July 5th. I’ll be hitting the big twenty-seven. For some reason, this sounds much older than twenty-six. Heaven knows I feel much older after all I’ve been through in the last six months. Friends are taking me to Salt Spring Island, my favourite place in Canada, to relax, enjoy, and forget about sickness and thyroids and missing home. I am looking forward to it in ways I can’t explain.
So this 1st of July, take a moment to celebrate that fantastic-ness that is Canada and all of the soldier, diplomats, policemen and policewomen, politicians and citizens who make our country as great as it is. I can assure you, I’ve seen what else is out there. We have it about as good as it gets.