The True Meaning of Patriotism
This year, July 1 will not be an ordinary celebration, as Canadians will come together to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of our beautiful country. I heard someone say “Canada - looking Good for 150!” And we are!
But celebrating Canada Day is also a good opportunity to ask ourselves how much we love this place we call home. As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, it is no time for a shallow celebration. Let’s awake in ourselves and our neighbours a spirit of love and devotion for our country, a spirit of patriotism. As Lord Byron said, patriotism is not a noble sentiment but a sacred duty: “He who loves not his country, can love nothing.”
In Psalm 137 of the Jewish Scripture, its author says “if I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning”. He is far from home and in a strange land. The uppermost thought in his mind is his country, his city, his home. He had been asked to sing a song of his native land while in captivity, and he had refused on the grounds that it might have appeared as though he was forgetting his own dear country. This man of Old Testament times was willing to sacrifice everything – whatever it might have been – for the love of his country.
Throughout our history we have seen many heroes, men and women who, in the name of love for their country, laid down their lives to defend our freedoms and the freedoms of others. Canadians stood up to defend our borders during the War of 1812, in 1866 and 1870 when threaten by Fenians. Canadians took up arms in 1914, in 1939 and in many other conflicts, to defend the liberties of those whose freedom were threatened by darkness and tyranny.
So as we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, let’s be grateful for the rights and freedoms we are able to exercise at home, but remember also– and not only on the 1st of July–our responsibilities and duties towards our country and towards each other. Let us remember the values that are included in true patriotism, all those things which have made our country the best country to live, those things for which we should be willing to make greatest sacrifices: integrity, duty, honour, loyalty.
There is something sacred in true love for one’s country. And some even say that religion and patriotism are woven together, as love for God means love for the highest values and things which He created. So let’s say out loud in July, filled with pride and love for our great nation: Happy Canada Day!