Are national holidays times for celebration and fireworks and raucous parties? Or, are they occasions for serious reflection on who we are as a people? Probably a bit of both.
Many people in my home Province of Newfoundland and Labrador consider July 1 to be a day of mourning. That is not because of Canada Day, but rather, because of a place known as Beaumont- Hamel. There is a memorial site in France that is dedicated to the commemoration of forces from the Dominion of Newfoundland who were killed during World War I.
The Newfoundland Regiment made an unsuccessful attack on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, on July 1, 1916 (that was many years before Newfoundland joined confederation with Canada in 1949.) Most of the regiment was wiped out.