Today, the second Monday in March, is officially Commonwealth Day.
In memoriam of Doug Johnson of Southampton, we continue each year to bring Commonwealth Day to our readers.
In 1958, what was known as Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day, in accordance with the post-colonial relationship between the nations of the former empire.
It was the National Council of the Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada that suggested the idea that Commonwealth Day should be observed on the same day throughout the U.K. and the other 13 countries of the Commonwealth.
In Canada, in 1973, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was in power and he and, then Commonwealth Secretary-General, Arnold Smith, designed the Commonwealth flag. In 1976, the recommendation and flag were presented at a meeting held in in Canberra, Australia and senior officials from throughout the Commonwealth countries officially declared that the Canadian proposal of the second Monday in March was to be adopted as Commonwealth Day.
In Canada, the Royal Union flag (Union Jack) is flown at most Federal buildings, airports and military bases in recognition of the day.
In England, on Commonwealth Day, Queen Elizabeth delivers her special message and a ‘multi-faith’ service is held at Westminster Abbey, that was initiated at Her insistence.