On Canada Day, our nation’s birthday this past weekend, I accompanied our daughter and granddaughters to see the fireworks. The girls, five and seven, were hyped up on sugar because of the S’mores we’d had at a campfire in the backyard. The girls jumped, did cart wheels and hand stands and danced the time away while we waited. We giggled, laughed, tickled and reminisced about thirty years ago when their Mom was a girl too.
As I pulled the blanket over us on that cold July 1st, I thought about families all over the world and what they want for themselves and their children. They want freedom to speak and live as they wish, to love and worship as they choose. They want to care for and support their families, to contribute to their world and live in peace. However, these are difficult to acquire in our present world.
My family’s ancestors came from Scotland, Ireland and England. We will never know their reasons for immigrating to eastern North America centuries ago; their stories have been lost. Not the case for those who are new to our area, having come from various parts of the world, choosing to make Prince Edward Island their home.
How fortunate they are to have the knowledge of their original homeland and their cultures and traditions to share with their children and us. Our world expands and improves with the hard work of these newcomers, helping to build a diverse Canada.
Last year, my husband and I visited Pier 21, the Museum of Immigration in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Canadian equivalent to Ellis Island. One of the displays was the Wheel of Conscience by Daniel Libeskind, a child of Holocaust survivors.
The moving gears in the monument are a reminder of the gears in a ship and those in a Canadian government which turned away the ship MS St. Louis in 1939. It’s 900 Jewish passengers, whose names are inscribed on the reverse of the monument, were fleeing Nazi Germany. Canadian government policy on Jewish immigrants at the time was “none is too many.” Canada was their last hope so they were forced back to Europe on the eve for the war. Of the 900, 254 died in the Holocaust while many of the others suffered terribly.
The four moving gears represent hatred, racism, xenophobia and antisemitism which destroy a society. We must be vigilant to see that refugees and immigrants continue to have a place in the Canadian mosaic.
The Canada Day celebration was an emotional one for me. Tears flowed as the fireworks exploded right above us. The occasion was a reminder that when we exclude others, “none is too many.”
I knew nothing about this event when those immigrants were forced back. We are doing the same right now at our southern border. I have been very emotional about it all, too, but other than marching, what can I do with that awful man in the White House? :-(
Great post, Marie!
I am right there with Jan, above.
This was a lovely tribute, Marie. And your new banner is gorgeous.
Here here....signs and marches make me feel better than doing nothing at all.
What a beautiful post Marie. Every country has their dark past, it's unfortunate that some haven't learnt anything from past mistakes. I think 'different' scares some people, instead of embracing they reject. Hopefully the situation in the US will be over soon ✨
Wonderful post Marie. My grandfather and his brother were "illegal aliens" when as cabin boys they came to the USA by jumping ship at age 12 and 14 in New York. Deceased mother and missing father. We are such a big country, there's lots of room.
I've heard of that- it is very poignant, and haunting.
An excellent post. That museum would be quite the moving experience I am sure.
The fireworks sounds like you all had fun! My grandparents came over (separately) when they were around 19, from Yugoslavia. (Without their parents.) I think it took them around 14 years until they achieved citizenship. They worked hard at learning our language. Even when she was in her 80's, I remember my grandma practicing writing! They were good upright people who came here legally and worked hard to pass the citizenship test, etc. That is what is important, to go the lawful route and that is the kind of citizens we want here; those who obey our laws. Funny how people these days are so lawless in their mindsets! I think it might have something to do with throwing away the 10 Commandments! Andrea
Hi Marie! That was a touching post.
I am first generation on my dad's side and I am fortunate to know the horrible reasons why my family moved away. I can't imagine not knowing why and how I got here.
PS: When I click on your name from another blog, it takes me to a somewhat in-active G+ page. Not sure if you knew or not.
Cheers, boogie boogie and Happy Summer!
A wonderful reminder. What I don't get is that the people/countries who don't want to receive the people fleeing their countries because of war, poverty or whatever, then what would they do if they were in their situation. Stay and die, I don't think so. It's a sad reminder that this is still happening all these years later.
Thanks for this post, Marie and have a nice weekend.
The Wheel of Conscience is such a moving monument. It's new to me. Such a statement.
So many nations forced the jews back. Canada was certainly not alone. My father was a German Jew, and perhaps because of that, I am seeing frightening parallels in today's world. Thank you for this very moving post. And for your generous tears.
You can imagine how this post affects me, Marie, as an American living overseas. How have we come to this point in history...as though we haven't learned a thing from our ancestors??? It breaks my heart. How long, O Lord, how long!
Climate change which will encourage famine and land mass flooding means many more millions of refugees to come. I dread that time. Now our stinginess is just the beginning.
I have never heard about the monument you pictures. I so admire the Canadian people and the country. Thank you for this post. Happy Canada Day - a little late.
There is darkness in our history, but we seem to have turned the corner. Let's hope we don't turn back. I don't think we will.
The marching is great Jan. Look what it did in the 60s.
Thank you SW.
It scares me the fascist element is spreading through parts of Europe too PDP.
It is great you have that story to tell your grandchildren Celia. So many of our ancestors’ stories are lost.
It is indeed William.
The museum was a highlight of our visit to Halifax Jenn.
There may be people who try to enter a country illegally by being smuggled across the border and some may be lawless. Maybe there are some too who would obey the laws rather than run the risk of being caught if they did anything illegal. Those entering illegally are different from those presenting themselves at the southern border now it appears. I don’t know enough about the situation in the US to argue the point however.
I do know I never want this country to turn away people who are running from tryanny ever again!
I am not sure how to make G+ active again HW.
Bill I so agree. In those situation, it appears that helping others is wrong until it applies to themselves. The scary thing is there will be many more of us in this world in dire straits because of climate change. Who will take us in? This island will be under water that’s for sure.
It was the last thing I saw in the museum and it had the most impact on me Joanne.
Tears are not enough EC. Support of refugee families is on my list of priorities as well.
There is a cycle to history it appears Ginnie. I hope this one does not continue on this scary path.
I so agree Tabor. We are so short sighted!
Thank you RK. That monument has had the most impact on me of any I’ve ever seen.
There is indeed a dark past in this country. Finally, we are beginning to address the travesty we perpetrated against the Indigenous people of this land. I hope we achieve healing for all people so we strengthen the peoples of this land to make it better for all of us.
I had not read of this ship's passengers who were turned away from Canada. It is, unfortunately, not the only example of inhumane treatment by our country toward various peoples. As Anvilcloud said, I hope we have learned and will do better. It's not happening nearly fast enough for our First Nations peoples, however -- more should be done, and more quickly.
I so agree.
I so agree Jenny. We’ve only scratched the surface.
dear Marie hope and pray that you and your precious family is doing great under the blessing of God!
a very touching post !
Beautifully written ,first para made my eyes teary
yes each family want peace for living and freedom of thought ,speech and act and this is possible if we learn simple rule of life
"LIVE AND LET LIVE" you spent your national day so pleasantly with your daughter and grand daughters
thank you for sharing the history of your origin my friend ,every survival has bright and dark facts behaind
Our ancestors did the best they could at the time. We owe them a great deal Baili.
just dropping lots of hugs!!!
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