Many homes in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and across the country, are proud to fly their nation’s flag on Canada Day.
Rene Bertschi believes our flags could be a symbol of a country united against a disease, and in showing appreciation to all those who are putting their lives at risk to keep others safe.
“This is like World War III” he says, not unlike when soldiers put their lives in danger to protect the freedom and future of their countries.
“We have to do whatever we can do to thank all the front-line workers for their sacrifices,” says Bertschi. “When you look at the number of people devastated by the disease, the people who have died from this disease, the numbers are horrendous. This is not only a thank you, it’s a sign of respect, to those who have shown an understanding that we need to beat this virus, through distancing, to protect ourselves and our essential workers. Flying the flag means we’re all in this together.”
Bertschi says, as Canadians, “we seem to be so quiet over the achievements of our country. What better way to say thank you to front-line workers. Our nurses, doctors, and other workers in the hospitals, the police, paramedics and firefighters, they’re all out there every day.”
Bertschi lives on Shaw’s Lane in the Old Town, and several of his neighbours have brought out their flags, usually reserved for Canada Day, to join him in saying thank you.
Some locals have flag poles that are used once a year, and others are finding respectful ways to display their flag, he says.
To his neighbours, Bertschi says, “Let’s do it.”
And if you have a spare flag, “put one out for your neighbour. And pass the message on to as many people as possible.”
He’s hoping for an “avalanche” of flags, not just in NOTL, but the region, the province, and across the country. “It’s a way of connecting our country.’
But it doesn’t have to end there.
Bertschi has spoken to his sister in Switzerland, a friend in South Africa, and another in Germany, about flying their country’s flags. “They all thought it was a great idea,” he said “I hope everyone will be doing it. Let’s leave politics out of it, and let the citizens say thank you.”