While I am hunkered down behind bolstered windows in defense against our current hundred-plus degree heat wave, I can still hear the continual popping of fireworks in anticipation of our celebration of Independence Day. That, of course, won't occur officially until Fourth of July, but there are those who can't contain their exuberance.
While our American fireworks displays may be premature for next week's holiday, there is one similar event which does occur today for those who live north of the U.S. border: July first is when our northern neighbors celebrate Canada Day. This is a day celebrated by parades, festivals, air shows, concerts with renditions of "O, Canada," the national anthem—perhaps, not unlike the upcoming celebration of their neighbors to the south, even with fireworks displays.
Working on my father-in-law's Irish immigrant Flanagan ancestors reminds me that this was the family which eventually married into another Irish immigrant line, the Tully family. The Tullys, however, did not follow the "usual" route in fleeing the disastrous famine conditions in Ireland; they traveled first to Canada, settling in Ontario before heading south across the border to Detroit and, later, Chicago.
Thus, a tiny part of my father-in-law's ancestry can claim Canada in their roots as well as the United States. And I will always remember joining in renditions of "O, Canada" on July 1, despite owing allegiance to the Stars and Stripes forever. Not only are the two countries neighbors but deep within our roots, many of us are family, too.