Standing for the national anthem didn’t mean much to me as a kid.

I remember in early grade school fidgeting and pacing when we were made to stand in class at the beginning of the day.

It squawked over the loudspeakers, delaying the inevitable pain a day of schoolwork would bring.

As I got older, hearing O’ Canada started making more of an impact. They used to play it at the start of swim meets I was competing in. Then, as the meets got bigger, and the competition got international, it was played when Canadians won events.

Later in life - the more I travelled, the more that song meant.

The red and white flag with a crisp Maple Leaf in the centre – so simple but so good! For me it stands for a great life, an amazing place to live, freedom of movement and freedom of speech and choice.

Last night, I stood for O’ Canada in a situation I have never been in before: a gold medal ceremony at the Olympic Games.

In case you haven’t heard, a young Canadian girl and her sister came first and second in Women’s Freestyle Moguls. They crushed the competition.

And as their reward, they and their country were celebrated.

Standing in the middle of the Olympic Park, I was surrounded by people from all over the World. Flags fluttered from countries from the four corners of the globe. After the medals were handed out, two little Canadian flags were raised, along with an American flag. Everything stopped.

Sochi Canadian flags

Then, the music started. One by one, single voices rose from the crowd of thousands – Canadians proudly belting out our song: “O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love, in all thy sons command…”

It was truly an amazing moment. For that 1 minute 33 seconds Canada was on top. There was nothing but Canada and no one but Canadians.

When it ended, everyone cheered! Saluting our champion and celebrating our victory.

For me, I cheered, loud and long.