The day before

As was the case for most Canadians, this past weekend was a welcome rest and introduction to a much-deserved drenching of summer sun.

Our family custom is to end up at the family cottage in Kincardine. Canada Day is celebrated there most years. The parade and ceremony were very good this year. Few things scream Canada more than a gathering of cultures from around the globe singing the national anthem together.

It was the day before that really got us thinking about Canada and patriotism.

CTV broadcast a documentary on the Come From Away phenomenon that has gripped audiences across North America. The musical highlights the efforts of the residents of Gander, Newfoundland who opened their doors and pantries to passengers stranded when airspace in the United States was shut down due to terrorist attacks with stolen jets on Sept. 11, 2001.

On that fateful day, 38 planes were directed to land in Gander, where approximately 7,000 travelers from around the globe were stranded. Suffice to say the spirit of Newfoundland rose to the occasion and guests from away were extended the hospitality for which island residents are known.

For five days, a town with less than 10,000 inhabitants served meals, provided lodging and entertained the surprise guests – waiting to get to their original destination. Some would return later, happy for the experience of meeting genuinely good people willing to help others in their time of need.

The show initiated a few thoughts, specifically how incredible the people of Gander were under these circumstances. A nagging question, however, was: how would communities of that size in our own county fare if presented with the same challenge?

As demographics change and a steady influx of commuters takes root, one wonders if such an outpouring of support would happen here? Still, most local communities contain a core of good-hearted people who pitch in and help out when the situation calls for it. Gander offers up an example of what can happen when a community joins together with a common goal.

People must join as one when the chips are down.

That belief was affirmed on Tuesday morning, the day after, as we got busy readying another newspaper for press when a sickening story came in from an employee from Mount Forest.

Call it a late-night, ill-advised fling or a dalliance with stupidity, flower baskets were yanked from their lofty perches and cast about the street.

The work of others to make their community better was trashed in seconds compared with the hours spent planning and organizing beautification efforts. It is far easier to destroy than build something better for all to enjoy.

With luck, the hooligans involved will be located and encouraged to volunteer and help make their hometown a safer, nicer place to live. Pride in country begins at home.