As April 25th approaches, ask any Australian to answer “Aussie Aussie Aussie”, you will hear a resounding “Oy Oy Oy”. Anzac Day is one of the rare occasions where Australians feel good about being Australian. Nationalistic pride is usually only ever seen on this day, Australia Day and most major international sporting events.
Stop any American citizen and ask them to pledge allegiance or honour to old Stars and Strips, and surely enough, hand on heart, they will proudly espouse the wonders that prevail in those United States. Sure they may be a little outspoken when it comes to their form of patriotism, but it’s there.
The French still regale themselves with Julian public holidays filled with baguettes and berets, joyfully reminiscing how several hundred years ago they cut of the heads of those pesky royal cake recommenders.
Even Celine Dion must be of some comfort to the Canadians. Little, I grant you, but at least something.
But in England I have noticed a distinct lack of self indulgent adulation of one’s nation. Ask most people when St George’s day is and they can’t rightly give you a straight answer. Sometime in April, I suppose.
St George’s Day seems to be a day like all others. No public celebrations or public holidays. No uselessly exploding millions of pounds in fancy fireworks or smoke filled fly-bys from the RAF. No waving of the Union Jack or the St George’s Cross flags.
In fact, in recent times both of these flags have become symbols of the extreme right or football hooligans. People almost fear popping out these symbols which should be held with great pride.
I think it’s a shame. These days may be seen by some to be just another day off work, but they do galvanise the people. Even if we in Australia do nothing more than do nothing on Australia Day, we do it with Aussie pride because it’s our god given right.
England does have something to celebrate in being English. And they should reclaim it back for the people.
So while we Aussies skive off with our barbies out the back, the yanks stand tall with the hands on heart screaming like banchees aka Rosanne Barr, the French drink their red wine and smoke and eat cheese and be … well French, I ask the English to join us, and pop up some Union Jack bunting and have a nice cup of tea. And complain about the weather.
Come on and join us … patriotism can be very infectious. You might even get the day off work if you ask the Queen very very nicely.