Grade five history lessons were my initiation to becoming a genuine patriot. In those early classes I discovered our heritage, our heroes along with our many battles, be they in times of war or peace keeping. I have seldom driven in our farming community without wondering how difficult it must have been for our ancestors to clear the land and grow crops. I, while visiting cities such as Montreal, Quebec and Toronto have not taken the opportunity to visit one or more of our historical landmarks. I have never travelled outré mer without wearing a Canadian pin on my shirt, jacket or hat.
But being a Canadian and a true patriot is more than wearing a pin, reading our history and studying our war battles for that in my opinion is only superficial in that for the most part, is only done once or twice a year. Being a patriotic Canadian is really having faith in our country which is to say in our democratic system of government and the many variations of cultures which it represents. Canada is presently at the top of its game and one reason why our society has been so successful is because we have accepted, and for the most part, embellished the concept of a multi-cultural society. We are a society of people that from the very start thrashed about our cultural differences and in so doing, have overcome them through a civilizing process of goodwill and countless personal and group sacrifices. Canadian patriotism is a process by which each generation have built upon the previous generation in altered and varied levels of government policies to be more inclusive thus advancing our quality of life as well as that of our neighbors and those less fortunate, not only in Canada, but wherever our help was needed. The experiment of multi-cultural societies living in harmony and working together to improve the entire country has succeeded for the most part, however, there is still much to do. Like most ventures of the past and present we cannot stand still, for the process of advancing a civilization is a work in progress. Canadians can take great pride in the advances of progress where many challenges will be placed in its path. We know that this is not new but we have learned on our journey to compromise with each other as we’ve cultured ourselves with the uniqueness of the many customs that make up Canada from dress to food, to the fine arts. Like a strong marriage, we have learned to live with some differences in our life partners that we fully know they cannot overcome. We know that our future is bright and we know that unlike so many other countries, this future is built upon the same principles of our ancestors that of pride, respect and deep love for our Canada. Those fundamentals are not celebrated only on July 1st but everyday of the year by all those who truly believe in calling themselves a patriot.