November 22

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day was commemorated in Australia and across the Commonwealth on 11 November 2006. It was the occasion for Kim Izzo in the The Toronto Star to report that few would have predicted that Queen Elizabeth II would, in 2006, remain not only relevant but become downright trend-worthy. He writes that thanks to director Stephen Frears film, The Queen,  and Dame Helen Mirren’s portrayal, new feelings have been stirred about our Sovereign.

 

“No one can deny that QE II has navigated tremendous turmoil in recent years …that would rattle any commoner. The Queen has survived countless criticisms of the institution, her budgets and her wardrobe — plus limitless attacks from the rabid U.K. press on her children…(yet) through it all, she has remained steadfast and stoic, admirable qualities in times such as these, and the public has sympathized. “

 

He says “ all the Royals have seen a resurgence in popularity. Be it the public acceptance of Camilla Parker Bowles’s marriage to Prince Charles, the obsession with Prince William’s princess-in-waiting Kate Middleton, or the antics of jolly Prince Harry, we can’t get enough of them. The style-savvy shopper can recognize a classic when she sees one and items from clothing to culinary gadgets reflect our fascination with the monarchy and its connection to the Queen’s loyal subjects”

 

This will no doubt disappoint the Australian republican movement which foolishly thought Prince Charles’ wedding would save them from producing details of precisely what republic they have in mind. They thought Australians were a mean spirited people. instead Australians wished them well, and watched the wedding in record numbers.

In the meantime, Murray Brewster reported for Ottawa station News 1130 that soldiers wounded in Kandahar stood shoulder to shoulder with veterans of past conflicts on Saturday, 11 November 2006 marking a Remembrance Day where Afghanistan had seared itself into the national consciousness alongside the wars of Canada’s past.

 

“Not since the Korean War, over half a century ago, have so many new names been etched into the granite of memorials across the country. Compelled by the sense that the country is once again at war, Canadians seemed to set aside their political differences over the controversial Afghan mission and turned out by the thousands at cenotaphs from coast to coast.”

 

Canadians have a clear understanding of the correct protocol concerning the Royal Anthem. In the Remembrance ceremonies both “O Canada” and “God Save The Queen” were played.  Mr Brewster reports that in Toronto, First World War veterans Lloyd Clemett, 106, and Dwight Wilson, 105, were among 500 war veterans and hundreds of others at Sunnybrook Hospital’s Warriors’ Hall for a wreath ceremony. As the band played, Dwight Wilson tapped his knee and added his voice to "O Canada" and "God Save The Queen." These two brave men, with 106-year-old John Babcock, who now lives in Spokane, Wash., are the last three surviving Canadian veterans from the Great War.

 

Remembrance Day was commemorated across Australia but this year  it was of special significance for New Zealanders. The Queen opened a memorial to the sacrifices made by New Zealand in a moving ceremony in London in the presence of the N Z and British Prime Ministers, NZ veterans, and Prince Phillip and Prince William. You can see this on One New Zealandhttp://xtramsn.co.nz/news/0,,11964-6554988-300,00.html, with extracts of The Queen’s and the two Prime Ministers’ speeches. You have the option of viewing this on the full screen. It is very moving, not least because of the sight of our Sovereign, in her eightieth year, and suffering from severe back pain, unfailingly doing her duty. For another glimpse, see the Reuter video on The Australian site at http://media.theaustralian.news.com.au/20061111-remem_player.htm

 


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