I took the children to the RCMP Headquarters in Ottawa on Friday night to see the mounties in their famous musical ride. We had a fabulous time. In addition to the Mounted Police, the Canadian Armed Forces were there, represented by the Sky Hawks, and that impressed my 8 year old son so much he has decided to join the Sky Hawks when he gets older. My daughter, who is 6, was swayed by the red uniforms and the horses, and decided the RCMP was for her. And my other daughter, aged 4, still really, really, really, wants to be a bagpiper.
There were hundreds of people there crammed into the hillside to see the show, from all walks of life: a true multi-cultural cross section of the Canadian population. Mine weren't the only children excited by what they were seeing - almost all the children visited the kiosks and had posters, tattoos, and stickers galore. And when the sunset ceremony began and we rose to sing Oh Canada, nobody sang more loudly or enthusiastically than the school-aged kids present.
Sometimes, it is easy to get cynical about our country. Sometimes it is easy to focus on the negative side of human nature, or fall into the trap of taking sides - one group of Canadians against another. The sunset ceremony reminded me of all that is good about Canada. People laughing together, sharing together, enjoying a very Canadian moment together without judgement and without agenda. It was a great way to kick off the July 1st long weekend. And if the children of our country are any indication, Canada will be just fine.