Singing for their country

By Rick MacDonnell, SnowSeekers Inc.

Each stage of the Olympic Torch Relay has featured a performance of our national anthem, and tonight's rendition, by a local elementary choir from Airdrie, Alberta, was certainly one of my favourites.

The invitation to sing tonight's anthem was personally extended to L'ecole Francophone D'Airdrie by Mayor Linda Bruce herself, in recognition of the school’s dedication to strengthening the forming pillars of learning: learning to do, learning to know, learning to be, and learning to live together.

I had the chance to chat with two of the performers, Desiree and Aimee Sweetapple, aged seven and five respectively. They were sweet (pardon the pun) enough to give me a private rendition of what they told me is their favourite song.

When asked what her favourite song was, young Aimee immediately cried, "Oh Canada!" and looked at me like I was crazy to think that there could possibly be a better song out there. I asked her why it was her favourite, and she said, "Because ... the flag," then proceeded to giggle and wave her tiny Canadian flag back and forth to hammer home her point.

There's something about the innocence of a child that can take you out of your familiarity with something and reveal just how powerful and precious it is. The Sweetapples' performance of our national anthem – their obvious pride in singing it – was a poignant reminder that this song we all know so well has a power and meaning beyond those simple words.

So many of us mouth the words and sing along to the anthem at sporting events and community gatherings, but rarely do we listen to those words and take in what they mean. Hearing them from the Sweetapple sisters was like listening to an entirely different song, one that beamed of pride.

"We sang on stage tonight," Aimee said, "for our country."

Make sure to catch the Travel Alberta Olympic Torch Relay videos on YouTube at YouTube/TravelAlbertaCanada

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