Saturday, July 1, 2006

National Holidays and what they mean

It is Canada Day today and we are 138 years old.

I was in Vietnam on May 1st this year and they have 4 days to celebrate which include celebrations of May Day and of their freedom and the American departure from the country. In Vietnam everything is closed on the holidays and people do come out in all the big cities to celebrate and enjoy the honour and pleasure of being Vietnamese and free and there are parades and all sorts of events.

America is under a siege mentality since 9/11 and I feel them closing ranks, as they should to try and find strength in being together. I always feel they are proud of being American in an overt way and this is perhaps good for it does tend to support the ideas of unity.

I went out today on my bike and found many of the stores along out main streets in Toronto open and doing business. It just does not seem so important, our country's birthday. It is not that we do not celebrate in Canada. But we are not as strong in our support and perhaps it is because our freedom is taken for granted as we have never been occupied by others and had to struggle our way back to autonomy.

Now our troops are being wounded and killed in Afghanistan and I see the young faces in the newspapers and see them smiling and laughing and feel so sad that we are involved in other countries and spend billions on arms and the army and not enough on education and health and the real welfare of those in poorer countries. We have so much to offer other than bullets. We have so much to do even at home to make our multicultural society harmonious. It seems that it all starts at school where the children can learn respect and acceptance.

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