Editorial: Elizabeth II earned respect globally

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 10, 2022

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

Those were the concluding words from Queen Elizabeth II in her message to Americans, following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that shocked the world and claimed more than 3,000 lives.

Her remarks to a mourning America illustrated its long bond with the United Kingdom that developed in the centuries since the countries fought during the American Revolution.

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It was further demonstrated three days after the attack when the queen attended a packed memorial service for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and was seen joining the crowd in singing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“The Queen does not ‘sing’ national anthems,” Richard Kay, a columnist for the UK’s Daily Mail wrote of the remarkable moment. “Her mouth never opens when they are played. It was the ultimate sign of unity, friendship, and support for America.”

Another came the day before when the queen ordered the Coldstream Guards outside Buckingham Palace to play the U.S. anthem, as well as “Hymn to the Fallen,” by composer John Williams, from the final credits of “Saving Private Ryan,” underscoring the crucial alliance between the U.S. and U.K. during World War II against Nazi Germany.

Typically, the guards only played songs by British composers and the queen’s order in 2001 broke a 600-year-old tradition for the monarchy.

While Americans broke from British rule and the monarchy nearly 250 years ago, the queen, who was on the throne for 70 years (nearly one third of our nation’s history) has always been a respected figure here.

Her devotion to duty was always on display, first as a young woman in her 20s thrust in the position far earlier than most, then to stoicly meeting with foreign leaders, including more than a dozen U.S. presidents and finally, as an elderly, but cheerful figure of constancy in a changing world.

While she rarely spoke in public, when she did the words had impact, such as in 2020, when she provided leadership lacking from most leaders in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, invoking the sacrifices made in her nation during World War II and inspiring others to pull together during the crisis.

She was admired worldwide it is why, much like her words following the Sept. 11 attacks, the grief from her passing is being felt not just in the United Kingdom, but globally.