Queen’s death recognized locally

·2 min read

A memorial for the late Queen Elizabeth II was held at Jubilee Park in Grande Prairie on Monday.

The ceremony coincided with the Queen’s state funeral in England, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other former prime ministers joined 90 world leaders in attendance. It was estimated that four billion people tuned into watch the ceremonies that began in London and ended in Windsor.

Locally, the Royal Canadian Grande Legion branch in Grande Prairie hosted a ceremony with a colour guard parade which led to the cenotaph at Jubilee Park. In Beaverlodge, a ceremony was held at the cenotaph outside the town hall. Beaverlodge Legion members alongside those in the Hythe branch led the procession.

Local religious leaders and councillors spoke at the Grande Prairie event.

“I do want to express today is a sad day for our community, for our country, for our commonwealth, but it's also a day of reflection,” said city coun. Dylan Bressey.

“When I think of Queen Elizabeth II, I think of an individual who was a remarkable woman who gave her entire life to serving her Commonwealth, to serving our community, so I hope today is a day of mourning, but it's also a day of reflecting on how blessed we are and how fortunate we are because of people who serve us.”

The Rev. Deacon Danielle McKenzie of the Anglican Church spoke on the relationship between the church and the sovereign.

“For many of us, she was the only reigning monarch we've ever known until her recent passing and King Charles III's ascension to the throne,” said McKenzie.

Grande Prairie Legion branch president Brad Lewis told the Queen's story and spoke of the many changes she made as monarch.

“Elizabeth skipped tradition as she took a stroll down the streets to greet the people in person, rather than being protected from a distance,” he said, “it's now a common place for British Royals, home and abroad, to do this.”

Two minutes of silence were observed at 11 a.m., and God Save the King was sung, followed by a wreath laying after which public members laid poppies down.

“It's the only sovereign we've known growing up with, and she truly is going to be missed,” said Lewis. He noted he was impressed with the number of people who came to the ceremony.

“It goes to show that the monarchy is still alive in Grande Prairie and across Canada,” he said.

The event saw more than 100 people attend, despite Monday being a regular work day for most.

Trudeau announced that Sept. 19 would be a holiday for federal government employees; the province stated Monday would be a day of mourning.

The Queen died on Sept. 8 and is the longest-serving monarch in British history.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News