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Sunday, October 2, 2022
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HomeOpinionColumnThe British showed us how to honor those who serve the nation

The British showed us how to honor those who serve the nation

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

Even if you don’t appreciate pomp and pageantry or you don’t believe in kings and queens, you had to be impressed with the 10-day mourning period and the other events culminating with the funeral of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

The first state funeral since Winston Churchill was a model of precision and respectful showmanship as the 96-year-old monarch was laid to rest after more than 500 world leaders and millions of folks around the world traveled to London in person or via TV to pay their final respects.

For me, the queen’s funeral brought back my memories as a 9-year-old boy watching her coronation in 1952 in the first worldwide telecast of a major news event. Thanks to my wise and loving mother, I sat with her in front of my grandfather’s tiny little black-and-white TV and watched the storybook spectacle of a princess becoming a queen.

That was 70 years ago but I still recall Mom insisting that I get up before daylight to watch history being made in front of our eyes. I’m sure that neither of us could have imagined that Queen Elizabeth would reign for seven decades and become so respected and beloved around the world.

At the time of her death, she still was recognized as the ceremonial head of state in 14 countries, most of which are now or were members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

The new British monarch, her oldest son, King Charles III, won’t have that many honorary titles because several of those countries now are saying they only recognized her because of their great respect and admiration for her and for her years as a trusted, stabilizing influence in the world.

At this point, I am compelled to correct an error I committed in last week’s commentary. The unnamed professor at Carnegie Mellon University who wanted the queen to die an “excruciating” death was a woman, not a man as I wrongly reported.

Today, she remains unapologetic, and her university defends her right of free expression.

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com.

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