For all that we criticize our Southern neighbours for, as I sit here watching the Macy’s July 4th celebration, I realize once again, that in spite of all things we veiw as being wrong with the U.S., there are many things they do right.
1. Go Big or Go Home – No country does this better than the States. I’ve seen it time and time again. If they do fireworks, they do it 5 times over, non-stop for 30 minutes (they are still going as I type this). If they ask for volunteers, thousands join in just for the cause, even if they have no idea what that cause is. The result? It is always big, always impressive and always worth it.
2. Hero Songs – Nothing gets a lump going in my throat more than a good “Hero Song”. You know the ones I’m talking about. The kind that combine just the right sappy lyrics, a carefully placed augmentation in the key and well-timed percussion to accentuate the big finish. With all of the commercialism that rests in a simple Hero Song, I admit, I’m a sucker for what they’re selling.
3. Fanfare – True, it doesn’t have to be olympic fanfare but again, just when you thought things couldn’t get bigger, brighter, louder, higher, it does and it works. One of the coolest things I’ve ever witnessed was sitting in a room of about 3000 people (mostly Americans) at a U.S. Marine band concert and as the band played through the medley of tunes that represented the different facets of the U.S. Armed Forces, people who were a part of those facets in the audience stood up. Shivers.
4. Patriotism – We often criticize the Americans for having this “in your face” patriotism (and I’m not denying this) but I often wonder if we, as Canadians identify ourselves by the patriotism we lack. What I mean is, we define ourselves by what we are not rather than what we are.
In all of this, I certainly don’t deny how proud I am of being Canadian and I am the first to say one of my proudest moments was representing my country in one of our finest traditions on Parliament Hill BUT as Canadians, we seem often to be apologizing before we’ve even done anything. While there is a fine line between being bold and being obnoxious, perhaps we could use a little more “boldness”, a little more fanfare and patriotism, and yes, a kickass Hero Song.