News Story

Celebrating Canada’s Day With Gratitude for Freedoms

Across the nation every year on July 1 Canadians gather as families, communities and friends to celebrate Canada Day. Parades, flag raisings, picnics, fireworks and other special events mark the occasion. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints join with all Canadians in gratefully honouring their country.

The national anthem, “O Canada,” is sung at the beginning of most of the day’s events and often has an emotional response from Canadians. Arnold Moore, a member of the Church in Toronto, Ontario, stated, “I can never sing the national anthem without choking up.” Canadians are rightfully proud of and thankful for their strong, beautiful nation.

Janet McLennan, a member of the Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia, shared her feelings of the celebration. “I love the Canada Day festivities in Halifax, all the red and white clothing people wear, the flags they wave, the faces that are painted in red and white symbols, the International Tattoo parade, the museums that are free that day, the concerts in the Public Gardens. I love the atmosphere along the Halifax waterfront on Canada Day and the throngs of locals and tourists enjoying the events on shore and on the water.”

Canada became a nation on July 1, 1867. The annual celebration, originally called Dominion Day, began on July 1, 1868, and has continued since then. In 1982 the holiday was renamed Canada Day. This day reminds Canadians of the freedoms which make their country great.

On Canada Day, July 1, 1960, John Diefenbaker, the 13th prime minister of Canada, said, “ I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think is right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”

Mormons are encouraged to take an active part in their communities and support the nation’s leaders by being good citizens.

While this is a holiday filled with fun activities, it is also a time to reflect on the freedoms which often can be taken for granted. Janet McLennan observed, "I have worked with immigrants who have fled fighting or civil unrest in their countries and know how blessed we are to live in this peaceful land. I have attended a Citizenship Court and again have felt so grateful for Canada and the opportunities it provides for those who come here as immigrants or refugees and for those of us who are native born."

Mormons are encouraged to be involved citizens, to uphold the laws of and honour the countries in which we live. Joseph F Smith, sixth President of the Church, counselled: “Let us do right, keep the laws of God, and the laws of man, honour our membership in the Kingdom of God (and) in the nation of which we are a part” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [2011], 122–27).

Canadians love their country and feel gratitude for the beautiful land and freedoms they enjoy.

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