Queen Elizabeth – 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada

Governor General David Johnson celebrates Canada's Flag at Fifty
Governor General David Johnson celebrates Canada's Flag at Fifty
Governor General David Johnson celebrates Canada's Flag at Fifty
Governor General David Johnson celebrates Canada’s Flag at Fifty

OTTAWA – Queen Elizabeth II issued a statement today on Canada’s Flag celebrating its 50th anniversary. ”

“On this, the 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada, I am pleased to join with all Canadians in the celebration of this unique and cherished symbol of our country and identity.”

Governor General David Johnston states, “Fifty years ago this very day-February 15, 1965-thousands of Canadians gathered on Parliament Hill to watch as our country’s flag was hoisted high and flew for the first time.

“General the Right Honourable Georges P. Vanier, Governor General of Canada at that time, was one of those thousands there that day. As the frigid February winds whipped across the red maple leaf, General Vanier called that new flag a symbol of the unity of purpose and high resolve that would further shape our Canadian culture. What that day, those words and, most of all, that flag represented was then-and remains now-unmistakeable. From that day on, we would think bigger and reach further than ever before.

“On this 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada, I ask you to consider what you will do to continue reflecting the values of unity, inclusion and generosity that our flag embodies”.

Prime Minister Harper in a statement says,

“Today I join Canadians across the country in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada.

“While our flag dates back half a century, the use of the maple leaf as a proud Canadian symbol goes back much further to the early 1700s. A few of the highlights of the maple leaf’s storied history in Canada are: its use as a logo by many organizations, including the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society who had it as their emblem in 1834; the use of it as a central and unifying theme in song, such as the ‘Maple Leaf Forever’ penned by Alexander Muir in 1867 as a tribute to Confederation; its use by Canadian military units, both pre-Confederation as well as during the first and second World Wars; and its use since 1921 in the Royal Arms of Canada as a distinctive national emblem.

“The Canadian flag is a symbol of the values of peace, democracy, freedom and justice that define and unite us as Canadians. It is a common rallying point for great moments in our country’s history and a testament to our ingenuity and achievements, both at home and on the international stage. Whether on the backpacks of Canadian travellers, the uniforms of members of the Canadian Armed Forces, or above the podium at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, our flag means home to all Canadians and inspires a fierce sense of national pride.

“Since it was first raised on February 15, 1965, our national flag has proudly flown on Parliament Hill, in communities across our nation, and at Canada’s missions around the world. It can even be found on the International Space Station.

“Our Government has made it a tradition on National Flag of Canada Day to present a PeaceTower flag to Canadians who exemplify the values that we hold most dear.

“I am therefore honoured today to present this great symbol of our country to the CanadianMuseum of History for posterity and the enjoyment of all our citizens. I am also proud to mark this very special semicentennial by presenting 50 Canadian flags to 50 Canadians and organizations across the nation in recognition of their tremendous contributions to our great country.

“On this special day, I invite all Canadians to take part in activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag and to learn more about the history of this unique, enduring and remarkable symbol of our national identity.”

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