Back “home” in the land of Montreal it would never have come to our minds to hang a Canadian flag in front of our house. Canada Day is celebrated on the 1st of July. It was originally called Dominion Day and then the name was changed. No one that we know has a flag hanging anywherenear their home. However, we always made sure the Israeli flag was flying tall on both Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim. People would drive withflags attached to the antennas of their cars and banners flying in front of their homescelebrating the achievements of the Montreal Canadiens during Stanley Cup season. Play-off time is serious business in Quebec. During the World Cup—international flags were hanging everywhere—sidewalks were difficult to walk on anywhere near a bar that had a game playing on its screen. Everyone was rooting for someone. People were hanging on to their ethnicity. Yet rarely in any community would you see a Canadian flag flying in the wind.
Yet each time we crossed the border we would notice the American flags hanging so frequently from homes, businesses—especially car dealerships where they seem to be extraordinarily large and we would feel a great surge of pride. What is it about this country that makes Americans so proud of their heritage and for what their country stands for? Is it because it is aland of freedom where one can choose to speak whatever language they desire and people can live their lives respectfully together? Perhaps it is because American soldiers are defending our rights in so many countries. Are we really aware of the lives that have been lost by young American men—not particularly different from the young Israeli lives lost defending our borders? How many of us actually take the time to acknowledge the contribution of these soldiers. Today we read in the Bergen Record the story of a young 20-year-old who was injured while in Afghanistan and fortunately is now convalescing at home. Recently we were in Dunkin’ Donuts (one of the many plusses of living in this community) and two soldiers in Army fatigues came in and stood on line. We told them that we wanted to pay for their coffee in gratitude for what they do for our country. Although they were perplexed, the smiles on their faces told it all. Wow, these people must be really weird, they are expressing gratitude!
Tragically, we also read of the 600-plus factory workers that were killed in Bangaladesh. Rarely do you see the green and red flag of that country hanging anywhere except on government buildings. Corrupt government has insured poor working and living conditions for the average citizens there.
Each day we see the Syrians being bombarded with attacks—one flag red, white and black is that of the Assad regime and the other of the rebel group with a green, white and black flag. Only those with a tremendous amount of fortitude would be able to hang those flags outside of their home.
We continue to smile each time we see the American flag blowing in the wind. It still excites us to hear the Star Spangled Banner sung (for many years we rarely heard it). Last week at the Yankee game we stood with pride as the players stood still with their caps on their hearts, an entire stadium standing at attention. It really gave us goose bumps. The most moving experience was driving across the George Washington Bridge on Memorial Day—wow, that flag is so humungous and significant as to what this country is all about.
We are honored to be in a country where the Red, White and Blue is seen in so many places.
Never will we take this freedom for granted and hopefully no one else will either.
About the Glicks - Rabbi Mordechai Glick enjoyed a long career in the rabbinate and academia – serving as the rabbi of a number of shuls in the Montreal area and teaching psychology full-time at Champlain College. Nina Glick led Yachad in Montreal for over 10 years and was closely involved in the Special Needs Community. The Glicks have three children in the NYC area daughters and sons-in law living in the Teaneck, Bergenfield area together with nine grandchildren. They have participated frequently in the OU Marriage Retreat
By Mordechai & Nina Glick