Every year for the last 53 years, Canadians have come together to celebrate the history and significance of the Canadian flag on Feb. 15, National Flag Day.
The road to the nation’s Maple Leaf flag was a turbulent one and was proceeded by decades of divide along British and French colonial roots, termed by historians as “The Great Flag Debate.”
The flag and its history are of special significance to the Canadian military community, not only because of their service to Canada but because the contribution they had in creating the flag we hold so dear today.
It was in March 1964 when Col. John R. Matheson, then a Member of Parliament for Leeds, was visiting the campus of the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) that concept of Canada’s future flag began to take shape.
The college’s dean of arts, Col. George Stanley, suggested to Matheson that the RMCC flag should form the basis of the national flag. Stanley proposed the new flag should be red and white and feature a single red maple leaf in the centre, rather than the college emblem.
Stanley then held a memorandum in March 1964 to emphasize that the nation’s flag must avoid the use of national or racial symbols in order to prevent any kind of divisions.
Despite its origins, the flag is now a symbol of pride for Canadians to showcase around the world. And this National Flag Day Canadians are doing just that at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games.
“It’s a great day of an opportunity to remind ourselves what a wonderful country that we live in. And this symbol that we have that we can travel with around the world. And what it reminds me of on February 15 are our women and men who are wearing this on their uniform, not just here in Canada but around the world representing us and keeping us safe from all the threats that we face. And it’s just a reminder again to be able to say thank you for their tremendous service,” said Minister of National Defence in a statement on National Flag Day.