Today we celebrate Canada Day. We fly our red and white flag with pride. There is much to celebrate here in this great land. Sadly, there is much to think about as far as improvements yet to be made. While most live in relative comfort there still exists abject poverty in many places, particularly in indigenous communities. Places where there is no running water. Places where the suicide rate remains high. Places where people mourn the deaths of murdered women. It is a dismal commentary on how Canadian society treats its most vulnerable citizens.
Today is also the day known as Memorial Day in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s newest province, and the place where I was born and raised. It is a day set aside to remember the lost souls of Beaumont Hamel during the First World War. At that point in time the Dominion of Newfoundland was a colony of Great Britain and her soldiers fought under the British flag. The Royal Newfoundland Regiment was decimated at the Battle of the Somme. On the first day of battle over eight hundred men answered roll call. Of these only 68 remained the following morning.
So, I am conflicted about this day. It is a day of great pride, yes. But, it is also a day of sober thought and reflection. O, Canada.