Ce drapeau (this flag), means the world to me.
It is not just a flag from some country north of the 49th Parallel, “America Jr. or even “It’s just Canada and it is so far away like a 7-hour drive.”
I overheard someone at work say the last one — which prompted me to write this post as I wait for a video to fully load for editing.
Canada’s history, people, culture, the Crown and its unique patriotism attached to this flag not only defines me, but defines millions of my fellow Canadians at home and abroad.
I have been a U.S. permanent resident for 20 years and while I have a DEEP love for The United States of America, nothing comes close to the love that I have for my birthplace — my homeland.
I only lived there for 11 years, a small portion of my childhood, but the memories are still strong to this day.
While I am shocked, saddened and frankly angered at the shootings in Ottawa today, and the hit-and-run of another Canadian soldier earlier this week, we cannot give into the fear of terrorism. Once we do, the bad guys will quickly claim victory.
“Parliament Hill belongs to the People [of Canada] we can’t give into fear and take it away from them…whatever the motive, take away from today is we must continue to take care of and be good to each other.”
– Charlie Angus, Member of Parliament (NDP) representing Timmins-James Bay, Ont.
My family and I lived in Ottawa for over a year an a half from July 1994 to February 1996. I have fond memories of visiting Parliament Hill and taking the elevator to the top of the clock tower ( I call it Canada’s Big Ben) and watching the fireworks on the banks of La Rivière Des Outaouais (Ottawa River) on July 1st for Canada Day.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the soldier from Hamilton, Ontario, who sacrificed his life at The National War Memorial in Ottawa today, his family and especially to those on the ground right now working to keep our streets safe.
I hope my fellow Canadians at home and abroad join me as we wear our poppies starting today to support the fallen, all current soldiers, veterans and our nation starting now through Veteran’s Day.
I am Canadian. I am #CanadaStrong, glorious and free.