Six years ago today, I wrote my first real blog post. It was Canada Day, 2005, and we had been in Canada less than a year. That first post was a bit cynical about Canadians’ love of their country as shown by their celebration – or what I considered their lack thereof – of the birth of their nation. Having lived here now for over six years, I can see that Canadians do indeed love their country, especially when it comes to sporting events. Especially hockey. I’ll never forget Canada’s win over the US for the gold medal during the 2010 Olympics! Or watching the Vancouver Canucks fight all the way to Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.
What I have found is that Canadians aren’t Americans.
Yes, we Americans get excited about our history and our freedom, as well we should. I am still proud to be an American.
I’ve learned, though, that love of country doesn’t have to be expressed on said country’s Independence Day by fireworks and parades and band concerts, or by waving flags and singing patriotic songs. It doesn’t even have to be expressed by a hand over the heart during the National Anthem. All those things are expressions of patriotism, but not necessarily the only expressions.
I’ve found Canadian love of country in the light of someone’s eyes when they ask if I like living here and I enthusiastically answer, “Yes!”
It’s in their voices when they sing their national anthem, maybe not as exuberantly as Americans sing theirs, but with just as much heart.
I see it in every red poppy worn each November in memory of those Canadians who gave their lives in past and current wars.
I see it at the big-city and small-town Remembrance Day parades, as people stand reverently by as veterans march past – or roll past in their wheelchairs.
I see love for this country in the acceptance of other nationalities and the pride Canadians take in being a true melting-pot of the world.
I see it in those immigrants’ faces as they become Canadian citizens themselves.
I’ve grown to love this country and these people. I pray that God will allow us to live out our lives here. It’s not a perfect country, but neither is the US. Many things concern us politically and socially, and there’s definitely a famine of the Word of God.
So maybe Canada’s birthday isn’t celebrated quite as loudly as America’s, but it is celebrated and she is loved by her people. And by our family.