Canada Day, on July 1, is typically a day for people across the country to gather for festivities and to feel good about our nation.
But this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional celebrations cannot go ahead as planned.
In an effort to slow the spread of the pandemic, physical distancing regulations are in effect and gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited.
This means gatherings in the park and other festivities cannot proceed. Public events must be scaled down, at least for this year.
But Canada Day is not just about getting together for a flag-raising ceremony, a barbecue and a piece of national birthday cake.
Instead, this is a day to feel good about this country where we live. It is a day to appreciate the things that make Canada a special place.
There is a lot to celebrate about Canada.
This is the place we call home. This is where we belong.
Some have deep ties to this land, going back many centuries. These connections must be respected and appreciated.
Many have family stories of how our parents, grandparents or an earlier generation chose to come to this country to escape oppressive regimes, poverty or violence.
Some among us have made this choice themselves. Some can appreciate the freedom to live as who they are, or the freedom to follow their religious beliefs. These freedoms do not exist in all parts of the world.
And even when we disagree with trends or decisions, we are able to voice our disagreements. We have the right to hold contrary opinions. This is not a universal right.
For these reasons and more, there is plenty worth celebrating on Canada Day.
This year, although the traditional ceremonies will not proceed as they have in past years, the Summerland branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is urging people to show their love for this country.
Organizers are asking people to wear clothing with a national symbol or to fly a Canadian flag on Canada Day.
And while this may seem like a small gesture, it is a way of showing appreciation and gratitude to this country.
There is a lot for each of us to celebrate, on July 1 and throughout the year.
— Black Press
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