Today we celebrate our nation’s 148th birthday.
In the past, July 1 came and went with little significance to me.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize just how important it is to celebrate living in a country where we have access to food, water, safety and security, and we’re able to speak freely without fear of punishment.
All it takes is just a quick glance at the news around the world and you quickly realize just how lucky we are to live in this great country.
I thank God that I’m one of the fortunate 35.2 million that call Canada home.
In countries like Iraq and Somalia they live in fear as Islamist attacks rock their nations and families are torn apart.
In India, a woman has to think twice about walking the streets alone, even in broad daylight, out of fear of being attacked.
In Mexico and South Africa, if you want to ensure your safety while in your own house, you’d best have iron gates surrounding your home.
And those ‘Stop Harper’ signs that have popped up around town recently?
If you lived in North Korea and dared to show such a public display of opposition toward the government, you’d be taken from your home, tortured and executed.
This all sounds a little dark, but the point I’m trying to make is that we have it pretty good here in Canada.
Sure, it’s not perfect, but we have it a lot better than billions of others around the world. We’re not starving, battling drought-like conditions with no access to safe drinking water, or dying from ebola.
We’re able to go online and access social media, read the news without the message being controlled by the government, and freely practise whichever religion we choose.
So today I’ll be downtown celebrating and taking in the day’s festivities with others who enjoy the same freedoms that I do.
The city’s Canada Day committee has once again outdone themselves, offering an array of activities for us to enjoy.
The day kicks off with a pancake breakfast at Frank James Park and in between there is a skateboard competition at the Sportsplex, helicopter rides courtesy of E&B Helicopters, a Canada Day marketplace at Ostler Park, and live entertainment at Spirit Square.
And of course, the annual Canada Day parade anchors the festivities. A new route this year takes the floats, cars, and entertainers down 13th Avenue to Cedar Street, onto 10th Avenue, and then onto Shoppers Row, ending at Shoppers Row and Cedar Street.
And of course, the fireworks show – the highlight of Campbell River’s Canada Day celebration – wraps up the festivities, starting at 10:22 p.m.
The activities are all free of charge so everyone has the opportunity to come and celebrate our country’s birthday.
It’s a great day and forecast is calling for nothing but sunny skies.
So come on down, celebrate, and give thanks for the True North strong and free.
Happy Canada Day, Campbell River!