July 1 through 4 - Patriotism embraces North America
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 01:21

Marshall celebrates his Patriotism Marshall Scully salutes Canada with his sockies

For one of the first times in a long time, I was at home for the July 1st (Canada Day) / July 4th (Independence Day) Long Weekend or Holiday.  It was a fun Daddy Daycare time as Marshall and I looked after the homestead and amused each other throughout the weekend.

As a 9-month old child demands 95% of one's attention at all times, he and I spent the "weekend" thumbing through vintage videos and eventually editing video montages for both the Canadian Flag Presentation and the United States of America Flag Presentation.

I remember my first American Rodeo announcing experience.  Mere moments before the event, they handed me a CD and said, "This is for the Flag."  I had no idea what they were talking about.  "You know, Flag Presentation."  I still was puzzled.  I said, "you mean, I hit 'play', and say, 'Hey, here's the flag?'"  Fortunately, that was the instruction...it was a speech by John Wayne about why he loves America.

Since, I have seen and heard several US Flag Presentations.  Some with full dramatic scenes played out by Davy Crockett lookalikes, or video playbacks of Mel Gibson in a war movie with Elvis Impersonators singing Trilogy (glory, glory hallelujah...)  In my networking, other announcers have even recited some of their 'pieces' for "The Flag".

But there is one speech that gripped me the first time I heard it.  It talks about 1776, US Landmarks, Children, Veterans, 9/11 First Responders and United 93 Heros bringing down their jet in the name of Freedom.  I transcribed it from a colleague's promo video (of which he did a killer read), and after a few performances, I was able to commit it to memory.

Since that time, to be able to recite that heavy script from memory and to watch the crowd's reaction, is an experience that raises the hair on one's neck; puts a chill through your body, and fills your heart with warmth.  To see people standing and clapping over top of their heads, or to stare with their jaws dropped, or to see a lone soldier in full attire saluting, it is an honour just to be a part of the moment.

Here is that video:

Dim lights

This was one of my first times reciting from memory, so, it's not my best rendition, but what I like about the audio is the part at, "...what...do the colors....mean to you...", there's a guy near the camera that says, "...amazing....amazing....".  Also, at the end, someone yells over the crowd, "F-yeah" or similar...

I wanted to transplant that ceremony into our Canadian Rodeos.  This task is quite difficult as Americans celebrate their Patriotism, and Canadians celebrate their Diversity.  I first took the US Script and "Canadian-ized" it, ie. Statue of Liberty - CN Tower, World Series Baseball Game - NHL Final... and then tweaked it up.  That speech I did at Rogers Centre for Monster Jam while they brought out a 50'+ Canadian Flag.  It got a good reaction, but nothing close to a situation if the US Script was performed at a similar venue.

I spent a few weeks scouring for more Canadian references to what makes us unique...and eventually, came up with an entire new speech for Canada, in spirit of the US Script, but exclusively Canadian.

Here is that video:

Dim lights

By Comparison, the two Flag Presentation montage videos were shared on Facebook: US- 91 Times, Canada- 8 Times.

Comparing our Nations' Patriotism, I think by incorporating this into our performances North of the Border will help us catch up on a smaller scale, that could go viral.

Sadly, I went to a competitor's Rodeo in 2010 as a spectator, and saw a Canadian Flag with a massive stain on it.  Simply just because I "tweeted" a picture of it was an insult to them, and I was even questioned on Facebook, "What's the big deal?  Thanks for pointing it out, it'll be fixed.."  In the United States, that literally would be a treasonous act, and a comment like that would ostracize someone from their rodeo community and society.  Simply, your flag doesn't touch the ground.  If damaged, it is destroyed.  It is folded corner-to-corner and stored, not thrown on the ground in a Horse Trailer to get stained (yup...that kind of stain on our Nation's flag...flown Friday, Saturday AND Sunday)

As a Country's Flag enters an arena, or a Stadium, you stand, remove cover and hold your hand on your chest.  In the United States, the prompting is only for effect, Americans do it by habit.  In Canada, if the Anthem plays, they'll rise... however if the Flag is flown, it's just another day?

Again, hopefully the Canadian Flag Presentation will start a new direction.  As Canadians, we need to recognize our Country's strengths, have a deep pride for all things great in our land, and celebrate our diversity and freedom more than on July 1st (Canada Day) and when we win a medal at an Olympic Games or a Hockey Tournament.

 

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