This Monday, along with England and the rest of the Commonwealth, Taber held a memorial for Queen Elizabeth II who passed away on Sept. 8.
Several individuals from Taber Emergency Services, as well as the Taber Legion and both municipal and federal governments, were there to remember the Queen’s 72-year reign. President of the Taber Legion, Abe Andres, M.D. of Taber Reeve Merrill Harris, Taber Mayor Andrew Prokop, and Martin Shields, MP for Bow River, all discussed their general thoughts on the event.
“Well, it was an honour to be here, and to be asked to give some comments on the Queen‘s life and her legacy that she left behind,” said Harris. “She served well and faithfully for 70 plus years, and it’s an honour just to be asked to do this.”
“You know it was a very special occasion,” said Prokop. “It was a very nice event — I actually was not expecting to see as good of a turnout. It’s great to see that many people come out to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II. A 70-year reign, what can you say, that’s a phenomenal reign for the monarchy, and obviously, that history goes deep. It’s great to see, and very evident by the large turnout we had today. Very proud to be part of that, and happy we had a lot of great support as well.”
“Having an event here in Taber, like many communities have done around the country, and a major one in England in the sense that they had a massive out turning like they’ve never seen — Ottawa’s doing one, but to be here in the local community with people,” said Shields. “You know this was a Queen of 70 years, that’s the only Queen we’ve known, the only monarch that most of us have ever known. Now, sure there are older people who may have remembered her father, but I think the vast majority of people, this has been our Queen, and that’s why I think you see the outpouring of people wanting to celebrate her life and remember her for her rule.”
“As the world knows, it was a great shock when the Queen passed and it was a very short time to get the ceremony arranged, and we’ve managed to get a good response from the town, and also the fire people, the police, and the first responders,” said Andres. “The police and the RCMP were here, and as you saw, there was a good amount of the public here. It was a good event.”
Following this, everyone shared some thoughts on the Queen and her lasting legacy.
“She was a marvelous lady, she will never be replaced,” said Andres. “She did more to keep this world together than anybody that I know of, and she was a very diplomatic lady and she treated everybody — the whole world as her people.”
“She was a classy lady, you know she’s definitely going to be missed as I said,” said Prokop. “She carried herself with grace and dignity always, and her ultimate wisdom and commitment for peace and wellbeing was second to none. What can you say? It was a great reign overall and we are going to most certainly miss her.”
“Growing up going to school, her pictures were always on the wall, you always sang ‘God Save the Queen’ every morning when I started school, and she’s been the figurehead that I have looked up to for all of my life, 70 plus years,” said Harris. “As I said, it’s sad to see her go, but you know everybody’s time (comes) and now we have a new King to look up to. God Save the King.”
“You know, I think she really represented the people in a way that they can relate to her,” said Shields. “They found her as a real human being — she wasn’t set as this so important (person) that she couldn’t be bothered to speak to people, or meet people, or take leadership in things that were important to people. I think that’s what a lot of people found so important about her and remembered her humanity she had as a person.”
Finally, the delegates also took a brief moment to speak about monarch King Charles III.
“Well, he has been practicing for 73 years to be the king, right?” said Shields. “It’s not often that people would spend 73 years waiting to get their job, and so I think he has a lot of experience in a sense of what the royalty is about and his job. We’re looking forward to him being our King.”
“It will be interesting to see if he changes things, and what not, but I just look forward to him being the King in the future,” said Harris.
“Our new King had a huge job to try and take over and fill the shoes that the Queen left for him to fill,” said Andres. “Not that I feel sorry for him, but he is going to have a huge time to try and fill her shoes.”
“I think he will transition in just fine overall,” said Prokop. “I wish him the very best and hope for great things to come for King Charles.”
Ian Croft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times