Sunday, November 6, 2011

Essence of the "National Anthem"

It always thrills me to hear the National Anthem...whether in the classroom of students, at sporting events and club functions or countries competing for medals! The “players” and audience stand proudly tall in reverence and in voice to the music as the flag(s) are rising to the pole top for positioning...then the unified applause by the viewing audience!

Many years ago I was in Europe for the summer months on a “whirlwind tour” of several countries. Upon returning home, it was a pleasure to again see...
our green lands; our lush forests; our lakes, rivers and streams; our rolling hills, valleys and mountains; the cosmopolitan peoples of numerous races; the prosperity of cities and wide-open-spaces of our countryside; four beautiful seasons...and a nation whose breadth is from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific 
on our west coast.

As a Rotary Club member for several years, our meetings began with the National Anthem ~ “O Canada!” and an Invocation Prayer. Words with much repetition often become meaningless. With great delight, I discovered other verses describing our country. As President, I initiated the singing of other 
verses in this Anthem-Prayer which I share with you.

“O Canada!” was originally written in 1908 by Stanley Weir. 
It was approved by Parliament in 1967 and officially adopted 
under the National Anthem Act on June 27, 1980.

O Canada!”
                                      O Canada! Our home and native land!
                                      True patriot love in all thy sons command.
                                      With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
                                      The True North strong and free!
                                      From far and wide, O Canada,
                                      We stand on guard for thee.

                                      Refrain (sung after each verse)
                                      God keep our land glorious and free!
                                      O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
                                      O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

                                      O Canada! Where pines and maples grow.
                                      Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow.
                                      How dear to us thy broad domain.
                                      From East to Western Sea,
                                      Thou land of hope for all who toil!
                                      Thou True North, strong and free!

                                      O Canada! Beneath thy shining skies
                                      May stalwart sons and gentle maidens rise
                                      To keep thee steadfast through the years
                                      From East to Western Sea,
                                      Our own beloved native land!
                                      Our True North, strong and free!

                                      Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
                                      Hold our dominion within thy loving care;
                                      Help us to find, O God, in thee
                                      A lasting rich reward,
                                      As waiting for the Better Day,
                                      We ever stand on guard.

                                      The Maple Leaf Forever

Written by Alexander Muir (1830 to 1906), in1867 ~ the year of Canada's Confederation, he is said to have been inspired to write the song, by a large maple tree which stood on his property...Maple Toronto.
For many years, it served as Canada's unofficial National Anthem.  Because 
of its strongly British perspective, it became unpopular amongst the French Canadians. New lyrics to the song written by a Romanian immigrant,
mathematician and now a songwriter, actor and poet, Vladimir Radian's 
version received its full orchestral treatment on June 27, 1997 at a concert 
by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. It removed references to British colonization and the Union Jack Flag...adding a reference  to Quebec's 
national symbol ~ the fleur-de-lis.

                                      O, Land of blue unending skies
                                      Mountains strong and sparkling snow;
                                      A scent of freedom in the wind
                                      O'er the emerald fields below.

                                      To thee, we brought our hopes, our dreams;
                                      For thee, we stand together.
                                      Our land of peace, where proudly flies
                                      The Maple Leaf Forever!

                                      Long may it wave, and grace our own
                                      Blue skies and stormy weather;
                                      Within my heart and above my home,
                                      The Maple Leaf Forever!

                                      From East and West, our heroes came
                                      Through icy fields and frozen bays;
                                      Who conquered fear and cold and hate...
                                      And their ancient wisdom says,
                                      “Protect the weak, defend the rights
                                      And build this land together” ~
                                      Above which shine the Northern Lights
                                      And the Maple Leaf Forever!

                                      Oh, Maple Leaf, around the world
                                      You speak as you rise high above
                                      Of courage, peace and quiet strength
                                      Of the Canada I love.

                                      Remind us all, our union, bound
                                      By ties we cannot sever.
                                      Bright flag, revered on every ground,
                                      The Maple Leaf Forever!


                                      The Maple Leaf...our emblem dear...
                                      The Maple Leaf forever!
                                      Long may it wave and God defend
                                      The Maple Leaf Forever!

                                      Through battles fought in lands afar,
                                      Our brave warriors, side by side,
                                      For freedom, home and lov'd ones dear...
                                      Firmly stood and nobly died;
                                      Their sacrifice and valour shine...
                                      Their Names will Live Forever!
                                      O valiant hearts whose deeds proclaim
                                      The Maple Leaf Forever!

                                      O Land, where seasons' gifts abound;
                                      Earth's own bounties rich and embrace;
                                      Where flowing waters' majesty
                                      Sing the hymn of freedom's grace;
                                      From ocean tide to northern light
                                      All bond as One Together.
                                      Dominion's blessed from Sea to Sea ~
                                      The Maple Leaf Forever!

                              (Note:  not all verses were sung at one time)

Of Interest: During the final game of the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), at their former home arena, Maple Leaf Gardens, in downtown Toronto, Anne Murray sang a slightly modified version of“The Maple Leaf Forever” to the crowd. 

This version was also used by Michael Buble 
in the 2010 Winter Olympics' Closing Ceremony 
in Vancouver, British Columbia.

This Land is Your Land ... this Land is Our Land

A U.S. Folk song written by Woody Guthrie in 1940, the Canadian version was
written and popularized by Canadian folk musicians...The 1955:

                                      This land is your land ... this land is our land
                                      From Buenavista to Vancouver Island;
                                      From the Arctic Circle to the the Great Lakes' waters ~
                                      This land was made for you and me.

                                      I roamed and I rambled
                                     And I followed my footsteps
                                     To the fir-clad forests
                                     Of our mighty mountains.
                                     And all around me
                                     A voice was calling:
                                     “This land was made for you and me.”

                                     “A Place to Stand, A Place to Grow!”

It has long been my intention to locate the lyrics to this award winning song about Ontario...for years, the captivating melody and words were on most Canadians' lips. You can hear and view the video on Internet. It was the 
unofficial anthem of the Canadian Province of Ontario's Pavilion. The song 
was written as the signature tune for a movie of the same name and also presented at the pavilion ... Expo 67 in Montreal. We visited this exhibition site
when my son was a small boy. Views of Expo 67 can be seen on Internet; “Habitat” ... a new dimension of living ... was the Exposition's theme.

       This song and video won the 1967 Award for Live Action Short Film:

                                      Give us a place to stand
                                      And a place to grow
                                      And call this land Ontario.

                                      A place to live for you and me
                                      With hopes as high
                                      As the tallest tree
                                      Give us a land of lakes
                                      And a land of snow
                                      And we will build Ontario!
                                      A place to stand, a place to grow
                                      (Repeat the last 8 lines)

Our Canadian Anthems and other leading patriotic songs about Canada
were significant to the development and growth of our nation...
trust you enjoyed these historical renderings.

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . written October 28, 2011

Comments, always appreciated ... scroll down
or e-mail ...


  1. National Anthems always move me passionately.
    This was a very informative addition to your Blog this day. I will pass it on to my High School teaching sons for them to view and admire.


  2. Thank You, Sherrie...Sincerely, I trust readers will be "nationally inspired" to appreciate, not only
    Remembrance Day...also the beautifully written words about Canada in the National Anthems used over the years!