Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our Canada and Our United States


(Written to a World War II Veteran whose friendship I cherish.)

As early as 1700, the Maple Leaf began to serve as a symbol celebrating Canada's nature and environment. The leaf is a Sugar Maple,
native to Canada and has brilliant fall foliage.

In 1921 King George V proclaimed the official colours of Canada as Red from Saint George's Cross and White from the French royal emblem
(since King Charles VII),

The First Nations of the prairies knew that the Mounties, dressed in Red, represented someone different than the blue-coated American cavalry.

The Hudson Bay Company always flew a Red flag over its forts.


The official flag inauguration was held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on February 15, 1965 with Governor-General Vanier,
Prime Minister Lester Pearson, the members of the cabinet
and thousands of Canadians in attendance.

Speaker of the Senate, the Honourable Maurice Bourget declared,
“The flag is a symbol of the nation’s unity,
for it, beyond any doubt, represents all the citizens of Canada
without distinction of race, language or opinion.”

The Maple Leaf in the middle, is a symbol that has much meaning to both the frontier and pioneer history of Canada. The two red fields on each side symbolize the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans following the motto,
“Ad mare usque as mare.” (from sea to sea).

The Maple Leaf features a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. The width of the Maple Leaf Flag is twice its height. The white field is a Canadian pale (a square centred band in a vertical triband flag named after this flag) and each bordering red field is exactly half its size. In the centre of the white field
is a red Maple Leaf.

Of interest, Canadian school children have commented that
to draw the Canadian Flag with one Maple Leaf 
is much easier than the American students having to draw 50 stars.


I comment here, that my mother's heritage was from Pennsylvania (German)
and my father's from The Thirteen Colonies (British)
whose later descendents immigrated to Ontario.

The Eagle was adapted from the Greek emblem of Rome...the Eagle Standard.

Congress viewed the infant republic as a future giant in resources
and world influence.
The Native Americans called the Eagle the Thunderbird or Lightning Bird.
The American Eagle, traditionally ruler of the heights of freedom
is fiercely independent and protective of its young.
The Eagle, with its keen and piercing insight, also symbolizes birth and renewal.

Congress, in 1782 returned to a sketch of a bald eagle, drawn by the brother of a Philadelphia naturalist, who agreed that the raptor represents supreme power and authority. Charles Thompson devised a new seal, officially adopted as the emblem of United States in 1787...and is still in use today, appearing on coinage. The Eagle is a symbol of strength, grace, elegance and freedom.


...consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (both top and bottom) alternately with white...with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the “union”) having 50 small white five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternately with rows of five stars. The 50 stars represent the fifty states and the thirteen stripes represent the 13 colonies that became the first States of the Union.

Nicknames for the Flag include: The Stars and Stripes, Old Glory
and The Star Spangled Banner.

The Flag, originally adopted June 14, 1777 showcased the 13-star version.
On July 4, 1960, the flag was adapted to the current 50 stars.


We share, as countries, a rich heritage, a scenic-scape
from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.
The southern States border on the Gulf of Mexico.
Canada's Northern Territories border the Arctic Ocean.
Canada and the United States share 
the world's longest undefended border boundary on land...
5,061 kilometres (3,145 miles).

From pioneer and frontier days,
both countries today have populations of Indian tribes, European, 
African and Asian peoples whose cultures remain diverse
...creating a tapestry of languages, customs and colours.

Your eastern state of rolling hills, streams and forests has captured
my love of your environment
as the escarpment corner of my province has captivated you.

Your childhood and teenage years in New York City
has vastly contrasted to mine of rural farmlands and small cities.

At a crucial time in history, you served your country exceedingly well in the US Army...then later developing  sound business acumen to support your family. Mine was to pursue education as a means of becoming independent and 
contributing to the community in which I lived;
then with a yearly income to seek and develop skills in various interest fields.

Through marriages and children, we have both benefited
from our family experiences...
adjusting to unexpected disappointments and revelling in achievements along Life's Journey.

Merle Baird-Kerr     September 26, 2010


  1. This is a beautiful posting,
    filled with the grandeur,
    of two Nations,
    hosting thousands of miles
    of abutting, peaceful, borders.
    I envy the Veteran,
    you mentioned, at the start.

  2. One day soon I shall visit this Veteran and introduce you to him. You may wish to read his writings about WWII experiences...check with Oldest Military Blogger on Google

    I truly hope other readers, as you, enjoy the harmony our two countries share...thank you for your comments.