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Mourning the loss of a great woman

OPINION by Melinda Gassaway, guest column | September 11, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.


Today, I continue to join many of my friends and associates in expressing personal sadness at the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2022.

Her 70-year reign -- the longest of any British monarch --was truly remarkable considering that she came to the throne as a young woman and wife and over seven decades became one of the most admired women in the world.

Of course, "the times they are a changing" and we will wait and see how the United Kingdom and its 14 other sovereign nations will react to her passing and to a new King Charles III, who will face a myriad of difficult challenges.

We who live in a modern-day American democracy that is fraught with anger and hate should reflect on how one individual who lived to be 96 managed to put duty and country first and conducted herself with amazing grace, always following public protocol.

Oh, yes, circumstances that obviously touched her deeply helped her learn the importance of reaching out to her subjects and showing the human side of a woman who never intended nor wanted to rule but did not shirk from the task that was placed on her shoulders.

The pains she endured, the familial disappointments she experienced, the increasingly complex political issues by which she was tested again and again, did not change the way she kept moving forward -- and always with a sense of purpose and commitment.

Queen Elizabeth II was deeply reliant on her Christian faith and a staunch defender of the Protestant Church of England. But, she was also respectful of persons who practiced other religions. Surely her faith bought comfort and peace to her in the last hours of her life.

This remarkable individual loved horses and dogs and enjoyed the outdoors at the acreage around Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the place where she died, surrounded by loved ones. How wonderful it would be to have had an opportunity to meet her there and just spend time listening to her take on life and a clear-eyed view of the future.

I want to think that even those who do not approve of the monarchy would have some esteem for a person who gave so much to so many and did so in a manner that others would do well to emulate.

We in America converse a great deal about strong women and how vital they are to the betterment of this nation and to the values we hold true.

The world has just lost a woman of immense strength of character and the inner courage and quiet tenacity to make a difference.

"The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen."


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