To the Editor,
I was very sad to learn of Queen Elizabeth’s passing away last week. It is the end of an era. While I am looking forward to wonderful things yet to come under the reign of King Charles III, I can not help feel sad for someone special that we have lost. To Canadians aged 70 and under, she is the only monarch we have ever known. Admittedly, none of us ever met her in person. Nevertheless, she was always a presence and, to some of us, part of our mindset. I am in my 60s now and I remember her framed picture hanging at the entrance to our school, along with the Canadian flags of the day and the Roll of Honour from two world wars. Her dignified portrait looked out upon us in our classrooms, in our church, and in the post office and other official buildings. We watched her age gracefully as she was portrayed on our currency and our postage stamps over several years. We sang God Save the Queen all through public school [until my family moved from a Conservative town to a Liberal backwater where they sang the lesser Oh Canada].
She was a lady. In spite of the protocols, important affairs of state, and the dirt of politics, she always seemed to rise above the occasion to say or do the right thing. Even when under pressure she maintained an admirable air of calmness and a sense of having matters under control, no matter how serious a problem might be. It is not an easy task trying to smooth things over and placate the masses when dealing with the various feelings, needs, demands, and wishes of such a diverse assortment of peoples as those, her loyal subjects, who comprise the British Commonwealth. She was constantly under the public microscope and had to live with the ever-present threat of kidnapping, or even worse, assassination, plus a scandal-seeking ruthless media (the Echo excluded, of course) who sought to find ways to besmirch her position, her family, and herself. For all the castles, travel, pageantry and Rolls-Royces, her life was really not her own; she could not even sneeze in public, nor could her immediate family. How many of us could live such a restricted and controlled life? Her office was all-demanding and time consuming; to some people this may have led to the sense of a barrier between her subjects and herself, but this is a natural thing for any renowned person. She always gave me the impression of having a genuine concern and care for her people. Her Christmas messages were encouraging and cheerful -even inspiring- no matter what the state of the world may have been. She impressed me as being a motherly, caring, kind and honest lady; somebody you could not help but admire. While she has passed on to an even greater kingdom, to me she will always be remembered with reverence and respect.
God save the Queen!
Stephen Hill, Haliburton