Opinion: the flag means something in this country that we hope reflects the best in themselves. Just look at what it is intended to our best athletes for many years
The flag that became a symbol of this country, made his first public appearance on Feb. 15, 1965.
I can’t swear that that day the little mountain elementary in Chilliwack gathered for its opening. But I remember the feelings of the Assembly created in my nine years. The flag was new and it was exciting. But he was also vaguely disturbing because it was something different, something unfamiliar.
I knew the Red Flag. He came to every school I was attending. In Regina we were on the RCMP database and each evening held a ceremony during which the flag was lowered when the bugler played.
This new flag, however, is not so serious. Red maple leaf in the center was crystal clear, nothing like a more detailed wore Maple leaf hockey club Toronto that appeared on our television screen almost every Saturday.
The symbolism of the red bar was also lost on me. I said he represented two banks of Canada, but to be honest, I do not see.
It’s going to take some getting used to.
It was 55 years ago. It has now become a part of us. I know it’s just a symbol and a part of me that wants there were no flags. But it means something in this country that we hope reflects the best in themselves. Red maple leaf in the center is not simple. He is strong and determined. It is framed by two red strips on the East and West coasts of this great, sprawling country.
For many years, this work took me to places where our flag was shown, where he’s been in this country young people in sports, and if there is a higher goal to the maple leaf I have not seen it.
The first Olympics I was lit in Sydney in 2000, and the games have not been kind to Canada. Simon Whitfield won gold in the men’s triathlon. Daniel Nestor and Sebastian Daria Makarenko won the gold medal in men’s tennis. For there was not much to cheer about until the final day of competition, when Daniel Igali, a political refugee from Nigeria who settled in Surrey, won gold in men’s freestyle wrestling.
After the victory over Russian Arsen Gitanov, the Igali was adopted by the canadian flag, which he wore like a superhero wears a Cape. He put the flag on the wrestling Mat, ran around it twice, then leaned over and kissed him.
When they put the gold medal on the neck and played about Canada, he was crying. Then he said he ran around the flag to show a full cycle of his life.
“Six years ago (I came to Canada), and I realized that all of my dreams,” he said.
Similar scenes played out at the Olympic games for many years. In 2008, the men’s eight won gold in Beijing after they finished a disappointing fifth place in Athens four years ago. Five members of the Athens boats won gold in China, including Adam Creek.
The crew assembled on the dock for the medal ceremony, giant men in spandex with a maple leaf on his chest. When they played about Canada, scream sang in one voice that echoes around the lake.
I became friendly with the members of this team. I asked one of them how much they earned in their gold medal year. He said $60,000.
Fast forward to 2016 and the summer Games in Rio, where the women’s Rugby won the bronze. This was the first year for the sports on the Olympic calendar and these women considered themselves pioneers of a new sport. They are also a wonderful representation of this country: young and old, black and white, Franco-and Anglo, gay and straight, all working towards a common goal.
On their t-shirts that they wore the maple leaf over his heart. When they won their medals they laughed and cried, sang o Canada, then drank beer together, the team this evening and always.
“I know some of these girls when I was 15 years old,” said captain Jen Kish. “To build together dream together and dream no words for that.”
Stories do not always end happily. Mellisa Hollingsworth came in the winter Olympic games in Vancouver as a medal favourite in the women’s skeleton, was sitting in second heading into the event, but eventually finished fifth after a brutal final twist.
“I feel like I let my country,” she said through tears.
Two years earlier I was in Ghana with Hollingsworth and fellow winter Olympians Emily Brydon, Steve Omischl and Clara Hughes in the framework of the right to play in the mission. If you saw her there, saw her and others interacted with the children on the other side of the world, the idea of her disappointing anyone in Canada was absurd.
Still, the maple leaf can be a burden. In Turin in 2006, I was faced with a grim Quinn walking alone on the streets after a seventh place in Canada finish in the hockey tournament. He was not very talkative, but he was most interested when I told him that covered speed skating, where Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg won five medals.
“I saw it,” he said. “It was pretty effective.”
Four years ago in salt lake, Quinn coached the men’s team, which won gold, breaking a 50-year Olympic drought in Canada. At both Olympics he wore the maple leaf proudly wore it, wore it, knowing that it is connected to every person in this country.
After all these years he still.
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