Wednesday 15 October 2014

A Good Flag

I have been thinking about the Canadian flag today. Actually, I have a little art project that involves the flag. I don’t have a lot of artistic talent, but the way I figure it, you have to do art to get good at doing art. It is kind of like you have to kiss a lot of ugly toads before you find your prince.
I thought that our flag would have a similar story behind it as the US flag does. There are thirteen horizontal stripes which signify the original thirteen states. There are now 50 white stars on a blue background which represents the current number of states. When a new state is added to the United States, the flags are altered to reflect the change. The colours have meaning as well. White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.

In 1776 Betsy Ross sewed the flag for General Washington to inspire the troops as they set up a cordon around the city of Boston. I had heard that Betsy Ross was a Madame at a bawdy house that the fathers of the union used to frequent and wished for Betsy’s name to go down in history. I don’t know if that is true, but I like it better than the official story.

The US flag has been a symbol for the citizens of America to rally behind for over two hundred years. You just have to watch any ball game during the anthem and the look of pride as they look at that flag is inspiring. Well, sort of, don’t forget I am Canadian and just don’t understand the “my country right or wrong” attitude.

I was kind of hoping to find some Masonic meaning behind the flag, but I am not willing to dig deep enough to find those kinds of facts. I am sure they are there; I just don’t have the time or the inclination. Remember, I’m Canadian.

The Canadian flag is a relatively new flag, adopted during Lester B. Person’s tenure as Prime Minister in 1965. Before that, we had the Union Jack which was basically a flag that said we were a colony of Great Britain. I liked the Union Jack and wouldn’t have minded if it hadn’t changed. Being a British colony had its benefits, but even countries have to grow up I suppose. Our flag was chosen by committee, so you can imagine just how bland it is. All parties had a say in the design, but ultimately the ruling party made the decision.

It is a red maple leaf on a white background with borders of red on either side. The maple leaf signifies the importance of maple syrup to Canada. I’m just happy it wasn’t a cod or an oil spill in the centre. The red bands signify that we are bordered on both sides by oceans. Yes, they forgot the other ocean at the top of the country and I have never seen a map that indicates oceans by the colour red. Maybe a map of Hell. Like I said, the flag was selected by committee.

I do like the flag now; it is simple and easily recognizable when flying with all the other countries flags. Nothing says Canada better than a plate of pancakes smothered in Maple Syrup. That would have been a good flag…

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