COLUMN: Carillon Flashback, June 3, 1952 – Kinsmen launch flag project

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This year is special for the Kinsmen and Kinettes clubs of Canada. The Kinettes are celebrating their 50th anniversary. The national association of Kinsmen clubs are marking their 72nd year. Canada is celebrating it’s 125th and the Canadian Maple Leaf flag has been flying for three decades.

In order to make this exciting year a memorable one, the Kinsmen have planned a special tour to give Canadians of all ages an opportunity to express their pride of our country.

The Kinsmen have sent Canadian flags with spacious white borders to communities across the country for children of non-voting age to sign. Children who sign the flag will be eligible to win a trip for their family to Ottawa for the July 1st Canada Day celebrations.

CARILLON ARCHIVES Elmdale School students Shari Friesen, Megan Wiebe, and Melvin Toews with the Canadian flag, which will be sent to Ottawa as part of the Kinsmen Club’s “Proud to be Canadian” project.

Signed flags will be sent to Ottawa to be presented to the Governor General of Canada on Parliament Hill, July 1.

Gerry Shore, president of the Steinbach Kinsmen Club, says the “Proud to be Canadian” tour is a good way for young people to learn that this July 1st is a sort of a special one.

Shore says it is important to encourage Canadians, starting with young people, to be proud that they are part of this great country.

“Let’s face it. We do live in a great country. Sometimes we forget that.”

Shore feels sending the signed flags to Ottawa could also convey an important message of support for government representatives.

“At times, politicians feel pressured and disheartened. If they see all these flags coming in, maybe it will make them feel how important and worthwhile their jobs are.”

The flags have been sent to three Steinbach elementary schools, for signing before they are shipped to Ottawa.

Wally Rempel, principal of Elmdale School, said he feels the “Proud to be Canadian” tour is a worthwhile project and the coming together of all the flags in Ottawa will have a significant symbolic effect.

“If you think of it that way, all of Canada’s youth will be coming together in Ottawa July 1. Hopefully, the children signing the flags will gain a feeling of belonging to Canada and convey it to their parents and other relatives.”

Rempel said that although adults are not involved in the actual signing of the flags, the children’s enthusiasm will be spread to their parents. While children are usually full of “patriotic spirit,” this love of Canada needs to be shown a little more often, he said.

“By signing the flags, children are telling the rest of the world they’re happy to have the opportunity to be part of this country, and proud to be Canadian.”

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