Just over a week ago the Orlando shooting happened. There has been a huge amount of commentary in the intervening period with narratives focussed on terrorism, hate crimes, availability of guns and other societal divisions. As with acts of this nature we can’t know for sure what the killer intended beyond murder and mayhem.
On June 15th on my way to work I took the picture at the top of this post. It was a typical morning. I was walking along Bloor Street from Yonge towards Sherborne Street, head down, minding my own business on my way to work. I looked across the street toward the Manufacturers’ Life insurance Building as I passed it – it is a beautiful building in itself, with lovely greenspace surrounding it and saw that the flag was at half mast – obviously in response to the Orlando shootings. I stopped and in a moment consciously realized that the flag flying in question was the rainbow flag – not the Canadian flag that normally graces that pole.
I’m proud of Manufacturers’ Life for the gesture, for the symbolism, for their bravery in substituting the one flag for the other. There are times when symbolism really matters, and for me this was one of them.
Orlando was clearly a hate crime. To stand with the community singled out, by flying their flag in respect for the tragedy suffered is a gesture of support, of shared identity, of desired healing.
Well done The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company – I’m proud of your values!
original photo taken from my Flickr