I enjoy travelling to faraway places but it's always on the way home that I get a sense of patriotism more than I do when in I am actually in Canada. I just spent a few days in New York City -- actually I'm writing this column on the way to the airport.
While I had a good time (it was a business trip so as much as you can cram in on the downtime, anyway) I made several observations that I hadn't previously internalized.
Watching the local news there was a story about two cops roughing up somebody and then the debate about racism, as we’ve heard all too often lately. Will the cops face charges? Will the alleged victim face charges? Or will it just divide the country even more?
Next up: they make money off everything.
And maybe it's not just an American thing but I feel going to a store and having dozens of what is essentially 9-11 merchandise is a little odd.
Magnets, calendars, figurines and even toy playsets of NYPD items. ToysRUs has a whole section. Souvenir shops are full of firefighter and police merchandise. Would there be this much swag had the men and women in uniform not paid the ultimate price more than 10 years ago? Probably not.
And there is an overwhelming sense of pride in the U.S. Sure, that level of patriotism might be nauseating to most Canadians but when you see people with American flags and loving their country it makes you think about your homeland and how we only ramp it up around Canada Day -- or an Olympic gold medal hockey game.
So as I close another travel diary I sigh and smile as I think there's no place like home and can't wait to get back to Manitoba.