Let’s take a walk down memory lane. What year was it?
Winston Churchill was Great Britain’s prime minister. Harry Truman was the U.S. president. The first Holiday Inn opened. Fast food restaurants were gaining in popularity. Gas cost 25 cents per gallon. The average cost of a new house was slightly more than $9,000 and average rent was $80 per month. A new car was around $1,700.
If you are thinking 1952, you would be correct. On Feb. 6, 1952, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor became Queen of England. She would go on to reign for 70 years plus 214 days, the longest reign of any British monarch, the longest recorded reign of any female head of state and the second longest verified reign of any monarch in history after King Louis XIV of France, who reigned for more than 73 years, according to Wikipedia.
In those 70-plus years that Queen Elizabeth was on the throne, man landed on the moon, there was the advent of the Internet, the first female became prime minister of England, there were 14 U.S. presidents, the mobile phone was developed and the Berlin Wall fell. Through it all, Queen Elizabeth remained a visible, constant, steady presence on the world stage.
She died Sept. 8. As I write this, her funeral events are concluding after a morning service at Westminster Abbey. I had someone ask me why they felt sad for her passing. We talked about a number of reasons. But to sum it up, we have all watched, all be it from a distance, the living of her life.
Think about it. Some who are alive today can remember Queen Elizabeth’s birth. Others, her marriage, ascension to the throne and coronation. Even more have seen her become a mother. Many of us remember her becoming a grandmother and great-grandmother, along with other key events of her life. We have watched as Queen Elizabeth experienced the same highs and lows of life that we all experience with family, unexpected emergencies, joyful events and the loss of loved ones. She did so with grace, dignity and strong faith, all the while living on a very public stage. It is natural that we sense a loss. So, we join with billions all around the world saying good-bye to her.
Still, as people of faith, we celebrate and give thanks to God always for the gift of life and for our lives. Now, especially, we give thanks for the extraordinary, 96-year life of Queen Elizabeth II.
Thanks be to God.