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The Official Stamp of the Marco Polo

BARRY OGDEN'S SPEECH GIVEN TO PRESENTATION
BY CANADA POST OF MARCO POLO STAMP
MARCH 19,1999

   This is a great day for our community, for our province, for our country. Our successes are being recognized around the world today – c'est fantastique.

    Thank you – merci Canada Post for recognizing our great achievements; the Marco Polo put Canadian shipbuilding on the map and we still are Canada's shipbuilder. This country has a tremendous past and Greater Saint John reflects much of that past and is headed for a very bright future – a future that is vibrant, with a strong enthusiastic spirit, especially when we work together – the more we do together the stronger we become. The community coming together to build a new vessel, The Spirit of the Marco Polo, will strengthen our community.

    Thank you Claudette Bradshaw for coming here today. In the audience today there are many people who operate our food banks - we all know the tireless effort you put into operating the food banks in Moncton. I believe they call you Mother Bradshaw. It's great to meet a person who has made such a difference.

    This has been a cooperative effort – thank you to all the mayors, councilors, MLA's, MP's – we made this happen by working together – that is what makes our community strong. We can go on and accomplish anything when we pull together. This is why Canada is the envy of the world – helping each other – caring and sharing. (Traviller ensemble)

    For a long period of time we here in Greater Saint John have been slow to recognize the potential of our history; who we are is important. (notre histoire est très important.) This is changing – we have seen great pride develop in Quebec, in the Acadian Community, in the Native Community and now here in Greater Saint John.

    Being proud of what and who we are plays a role in what and who we will become. I believe there is a Cultural Revolution going on. We are rediscovering our past; we are taking pride in who we are and where we are going. Cultural Revolutions preclude Economic Revolutions.

    The success of our children is based on their pride and self esteem; our community is no different – and we must defend it and be proud of it. The people we must like first are ourselves.

    I'm proud of what we have accomplished and this pride will propel us into the future, especially when we work together (Traviller ensemble). Pride can be seen in the way we speak about ourselves, in the knowledge we have of our past, in the way we keep our houses and streets.

    I have two letters here (both with stamps on them 20 - 25 years old) - I hold them very close. One is from my grandfather (he has the best seat in the house) the other from my parents (who are here today). Each time I read these letters I see their faces, their values, their joy, their caring – this is what a letter does – it's forever.

    To the students and adults here today – thank you for your efforts, but especially to the students – thank you – merci – this is what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it. Everything is possible. You have to believe to achieve; imagine it, work toward it and it will happen. Einstein said, "imagination is as important as knowledge".

    We, and especially you, are all very important – our actions do make a difference in this world we live in. Encourage and support each other – don't fall prey to negative thinking and division.

    Thank you Judy Burgess and Al Rouse for writing those first two letters.

   Thank you to my wife, Debbie, my sons, Christopher and Joshua, my sisters, Nancy and Roxanne and Alan and Margaret Hutton for tolerating me.

   I hope today is the start of our building a new ship – The Spirit of the Marco Polo. – If we can just get a hull started on the waterfront I believe the community could come together and finish it. What a community project! What a legacy the Spirit of the Marco Polo would be - a great symbol of success and tenacity!

    The Marco Polo would create economic development, new wealth, pride of ownership and cooperation in our community. It is a community project that is very visible, inclusive and accessible. The Marco Polo story is already in film, Harbour View High's musical, Flora Kidd's novel (a second one on the way), Music, literature, a monument and now, a stamp.

    Thank you, Jim Stewart for one of the most beautiful suite of songs – The Marco Polo Suite.

    Again, thank you - merci - Canada Post. You have made Canada proud with this great national and international ship - The Marco Polo. Merci/thank you for creating this beautiful stamp.

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