On my desk and shelves, in my home office and in my office on Parliament Hill are some objects that have a certain amount of significance in my life but which are otherwise useless. It is not like I need more ornamentation or decorations after all. Each one though has a story attached to it, a memory and/or a person of significance. With your permission I would like to glance over my desk and tell you some stories about what you can see there.
I walked the Freedom Trail in the Spring of 1970, but I didn’t finish it. That wasn’t my fault.
I was in Boston as part of a church youth group trip, and the Freedom Trail, which includes sites relating to the American Revolution, was one of the events. So was a trip to Concord, site of “the shot heard around the world.”
Looking back, I have to wonder if there was some sort of subtle message being sent by the church which hosted us. There are probably other sites of historical interest in the Boston area, but I only remember being taken to ones dealing with the Revolutionary War that the 13 colonies that became the United States fought against the British. Perhaps though, given how little Americans know about Canada, it never occurred to them that we were still part of the British Commonwealth. Perhaps they didn’t realize that the northern colonies at the time, the ones that eventually became Canada, refused to join their revolution. We also achieved independence, but we did it peaceably. Fewer hotheads here I guess. We can work out our tax disputes without muskets. Though some might argue that using lawyers is just as bad.
We didn’t finish the Freedom Trail that day in 1970. There wasn’t the time to make it to the last stop, the USS Constitution. So about 10 years ago, when I was given the opportunity to see the ship, I jumped at the chance.
I gather it is the oldest still commissioned active warship in the world. I was told they sail it around Boston Harbor on July 4 every year. It’s symbolic of course. But symbolism counts.
That’s why I bought the cannon that sits on my desk .It’s a replica of one from the Constitution. Symbols are important to us, especially symbols of our past. If we don’t understand where we have come from we are unlikely to know where we are going or how to get there.
England’s North American colonies chose different routes in 1776. Our societies today, despite their similarities, have a lot of differences. Those to the north, the ones who don’t believe in settling a tax dispute by insurrection, have a stable government. We don’t panic when the government changes, no matter how much we dislike the new guys.
Those to the south are looking at the idea of President Donald Trump. Need I say more? Those walking the Freedom Trail today are probably wishing it lead to Canada.