Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Canadian Flag First Went Up Fifty Years Ago



      Fifty years ago today the Canadian flag was officially raised.

      Let me go back a bit. Before 1965 Canada used several different flags. They were all a combination of varying parts of British designs. Our flag was called the Red Ensign.. Discussion went on for a long time about having a Canadian flag which is our own. A call for designs was made. Citizens submitted thousands of suggestions. The process took a long time until one was chosen and presented to parliament. There was much disagreement in parliament and the two sides dug in for a fight. Some of the population were much against the new design. Veterans wanted to keep the old flag that they fought two wars under.

     We actually had three different Red Ensigns. One was from 1868- 1921, a second from 1921-1957 and a third from 1957- 1965.



     Finally an act of parliament was passed to make the new flag official and it was agreed that the new flag would be raised Feb. 15 1965.



     Now this is a day I will not forget. I was a young teacher in Inuvik , Northwest Territories. I taught at Sir Alexander Mackenzie school which had an enrollment of about 1000 students.

    It was a bitterly cold clear day. We gathered around the flagpole at the front of the school. We had a number of local dignitaries...RCMP, Legion. Navy,cadets and administration. The old flag was slowly brought down and folded according to protocol. I can't remember who received the old flag but there were rules stating who should receive the old flag. The new flag was unfolded and attached to the lanyard and slowly raised. I can't remember if we sang Oh Canada or not.
   
     What I do remember is that the cadets insisted on wearing their berets. We watched as their ears steadily whitened with frost. Of course, they would never cover their ears with their hands. The cadets played a very important role in this event. I'm sure none of them will ever forget it. I think a few other people froze their ears too.

     I'm not one for pomp and ceremony but this event will stick in my mind forever. It was an impressive ceremony and we knew that something important was happening that day.

    Now Canadians love their flag and you seldom hear any criticism.

45 comments:

  1. i love your flag, too. always have. well, because i'm 51, the maple leaf is the only version i've ever known for canada. :)

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    1. After all the arguments it's been well liked.

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  2. I didn't know about this being a "new" flag. I have always liked it. I love "Oh Canada" too. We get to sing it and present your flag on the soccer field when we play Vancouver and Toronto.

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    1. Well, if fifty years means new, I guess it's new. The other thing is we are not very old country.

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  3. I was around when you had the old flag, but I wasn't interested in Canada the way I am now. This is so interesting, and I think the maple leaf flag is perfect! :-)

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    1. I think the whole world likes our flag.

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  4. Happy Birthday to your flag. I never realised that it was relatively new.

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    1. Yes, we took a long time to leave the nest.

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  5. Interesting post, I never knew about this flag changing.

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    1. It took us a long time to make up our mind about a flag.

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  6. I had almost forgot about this change. Before that weren't you a commonwealth?

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    1. We became a country in 1867 but it took a long time before we established all of our own institutions.

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  7. I have three flags in my yard. Like a ship's mast. Maple Leaf tall center, flag of NB and British left and right. We fly our colours proudly. We have flags to fly when we have visitors from other provinces or countries. We always fly the flag of our visiting friends - kinda like a welcome thing. Nice informative post Red and super nice story.

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    1. Now it sounds like you have an interesting post to make. Show all your flags.

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  8. I remember all the criticism I love our flag. I did not know about the cadets ears but I can imagine. It sure is cold right now here too. Hug B

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    1. The criticism was very heated. We're mild here so keep warm and don't forget to feed those cows.

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  9. I have always loved the Canadian flag. And the Canadian anthem as well!!

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    1. Yes, both are great but what about the great people who are very "nice?"

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  10. I love this flag, too! And it was adopted just a few days after I was born. We both turned half a century old this year :)

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    1. It's hard to think how quickly time has gone by with this flag. It doesn't seem like that long a go.

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  11. Hi Red, What a neat post. I sure did not know all that about the Canadian flag. Interesting to hear about the ceremony at school. Thanks for sharing. By the way, I mentioned you in my post today on my blog. Take care up there in the True North! John

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    1. Thanks for the mention. It's much appreciated. I'm sure that most of our population doesn't know much about the history of our flag.

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  12. My family immigrated to Canada a few weeks after the new flag was raised. Have always loved it. It is unique and says "here we are, we are our own country".

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    1. So we hoisted the flag to welcome you!

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  13. A lovely post of a very special day. It is a beautiful flag. Thanks for sharing this memory Red.

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    1. Some days just stand out in your memory and this was one of them.

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  14. It's the only flag I've ever known, though I'm familiar with the old red ensigns.

    It speaks volumes about the pettiness of the man that the PM barely acknowledged the date.

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    1. This guy's really nuts! He goes berserk over the war of 1812 and then nothing on the flag. we have to get rid of this goof.

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  15. O, Ca-na-daaaaa... (I made you stand up, didn't I?) ;)

    Fine post, Red. :)

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  16. Ooh, I can hear you from here.

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  17. I, for one, love the Canadian flag almost as much I love the Canadian people.

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  18. You were there for history Red!! Those poor boys and their ears, I bet they remember that day:(

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  19. I think there are occasions where some pomp and ceremony is appropriate and a new national flag is, in my mind, one of them. It's a discussion going on in New Zealand at the moment.

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    1. My son was in reserve forces so I saw some of their ceremonies.

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  20. I think they made a wonderful choice. Your flag is as distinctive and easily recognizable as the US flag.
    My most memorable moment with respect to our US flag was once many years ago and my husband was on a working assignment on the base at Pearl Harbor. We happened to arrive early morning just before they raised the flag. Everyone stopped, removed their hats, saluted and reveille was played. I never felt prouder.

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    1. You have many more ceremonies and are much more patriotic than we'll ever be.

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  21. It's been interesting media coverage, as they showed footage of the protests! What a wonderful memory!

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    1. Harper lacks any commonsense when it comes to most things and that was just one of the many examples.

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  22. I've lived near the Canadian border all my life and didn't realize your flag was so "young". I think it's one of the most beautiful flags of all.

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  23. I didn't realize the Canadian flag was younger than me! Interesting.

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  24. Very interesting. Did not know any of that.
    Congratulations on your POTW award from Hilary . . . :)

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  25. It's hard to believe NOW that once there were so many heated arguments about it. It's a distinctive flag recognized around the world and I dare say most Canadians are very proud of it.

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