Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A day of remembrances and celebrations

July 1st - Canada Day. A day to celebrate our country and the freedoms we enjoy. It has always bothered me how little the activities that I've seen at Canada Day celebrations actually have to do with what the day is supposed to be about. I'd love to see activities that teach, or review Canadian history, geography, politics, etc. There's no reason why that couldn't be incorporated in the games that are a part of most celebrations. Even the decorations could help in that respect, with a little bit of forethought. It seems, however, that people are content just to party. Oh well.

Mind you, with all that's happening in our country lately it seems our freedoms are slowly slipping away from us and we have less and less to celebrate in that regard. I'm still thankful for the freedoms that we do have, but I'm also sad for some that I see slipping away.

A few years back, while studying with my son the book No Man's Land, by Kevin Major, I discovered that there are a lot of Newfoundlanders that actually struggle with celebrating Canada Day on July 1st. July 1st to them is Memorial Day - the day they remember the terrible battle at Beaumont Hamel when the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was nearly wiped out. Kevin Major's book is an amazing read about that battle.

Many communities in Newfoundland start the day, July 1st, with Memorial services and end the day with the Canada Day celebrations. It's a day with a mixture of remembrance, mourning, and celebration.


At Home on the Rock... said...

Great Post, Jacqueline. I could write a whole article in response to your post....but I'll try to be as brief as I can.

I can certainly see and understand why Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have difficulty celebrating Canada Day.

Also, I never knew before this was called Memorial Day here. Dh and We have been really puzzled by all the signs that talk about 'Memorial Day' activities. The sign at the entrance to our town lists the Memorial Day Activities and like you said, there was a church service this morning followed by a bbq and fireworks tonight. The only Memorial Day we've ever known about is the one celebrated by the U.S. in May.

But....now we know (and one more thing we can add to our items of new knowledge since arriving here in NL)

And...my post is just shy of being an essay. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that and it's really very interesting, we'll be sure to check that book out and add it to our repetoire of Canadian History books. I also agree that we are losing some of our freedoms, it's very scary actually. I look forward to visiting your blog again soon.

Rosina said...

Hi Jacqueline :)
I had no idea that Newfoundland had a Memorial Day today, how interesting! You're right about it not really being about Canada, it's just one big party with clowns, face painting and fireworks. Not much historical learning if any. I've been watching closely about the new Arctic expeditions with other countries wanting to stake their claims now that the ice is melting so quickly. A little on the scary side! There was a really interesting program about a month or 2 ago about the Canadian rangers that patrol the arctic and spend months out there and how the government doesn't have enough funds to give them the proper supplies and support that then need as protectors of our true north. If I recall correctly the weapons that they were carrying were similar to rifles from the 2nd world war or something really silly. They definitely weren't up to date! It's hard to believe.
Anyways, thanks for putting together another great carnival :) Enjoy your week!

Jackie - lovetohomelearn said...

Thank you for letting us know about some of the culture of Newfoundland. I will be taking note of the book you listed and will make sure I get it from the library for our lessons.

Carla said...

Jacqueline, you always have such interesting tidbits of history! I, too, wish there was more to do with Canada at our Canada Day activities.

molytail said...

I read about the whole NFLD Memorial Day on Linda's site too - I had no idea that it was also that there!

Yeah I know what you mean about the Canada Day stuff not really focusing on anything about Canada itself.. it's all just random games, facepainting, cake... fireworks.. pretty generic ways of celebrating...would be cool to see some new stuff!