A Letter from America on the Passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
It is with great sadness that your North American friends and fellow members of the Institution of Fire Engineers received word this afternoon of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II earlier today. So much has been said and written about your extraordinary monarch that we feel that she was one of us, also. Although we realize that the queen, and the entire Royal Family, have, at times, been criticized on occasion, the overwhelming respect that she enjoyed here in America has left all of us greatly pained by her passing. Her roles as a Monarch, mother, and grandmother and as an active and visible advocate for social issues have proven the significance of her life.
During her phenomenal 70-year reign as the Monarch of the United Kingdom she consistently displayed a historic amount of confidence and admiration that the British public, as well as the Commonwealth, have shown for Queen Elizabeth II. In an era where monarchies across the world seemed to be losing steam and public appeal, Queen Elizabeth II steered the British monarchy into a path of continuous relevance and impact. Her tenacity displayed during patchy years in the 80s and 90s went on to solidify her claim as one of the greatest of British monarchs in history. Although she has never granted a single interview all throughout her over 70 years on the throne, Elizabeth II never lets her people down when it came to communicating heartfelt emotions. These, and many others, are some of the reasons why the Queen is beloved my many both in the United Kingdom and other countries, worldwide.
Born in 1926, you could say that Queen Elizabeth II had seen it all: World War II (WWII), the Korean War, the Cold War, the Falkland Islands War, and even events like the Brexit crisis. In spite of all that, she showed nerves of steel in shepherding her country out of some pretty difficult situations. And even as Princess Elizabeth, she notably played a vital role in keeping the nation upbeat and strong during the Battle of Britain in WWII. More recently, she launched a website that details the charitable activities and works of the royal family
Most everyone is aware that Queen Elizabeth II holds the record of being Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. Succeeding her father King George VI in 1953, Elizabeth has carried herself in a manner that befits a true monarch for well over 70 years. Her ability to keep up with the changing times has earned her enormous praise and respect from all corners of the world.
Her first milestone came in 2002, when she celebrated 50 years on the throne. This was followed by her Diamond and Sapphire Jubilee celebrations in 2012 and 2017, respectively. In February 2022, the Queen reached an even greater milestone when she celebrated her platinum jubilee, marking a historically unchallenged 70 years on the throne.
In terms of longevity on the throne, Elizabeth II beats her great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, England’s second longest reigning monarch. It speaks volumes for a monarch to be regarded in the same light (or even better) as Queen Victoria.
Queen Elizabeth II’s address to the joint session of the United States Congress on Thursday, 16th May 1991 was a very historic moment for both countries. By so doing, the Queen became the first British monarch to attain this feat. Therefore, in a 15-minute speech that received three rousing ovations, the Queen praised the strong cultural and economic bond between her country and the United States, citing the two countries continued cooperation in the Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, and even more recently in the support of Ukraine.
In her address to the US Congress, donning a purple and white hat, Elizabeth II began her speech with a slightly self-deprecating joke about her diminutive stature, which caused laughter to spread across the floor. She then moved to much serious issue, calling on politicians in both countries to maintain the harmony between Europe and America. She stated that greatest progress emerged when the two nations on different sides of the Atlantic acted in solidarity and unity.
The relationship between the U.S. and Britain is one that has been described as unbreakable by many experts. However, it was not always like this, bearing in mind that America was once a British colony, and that the two sides fought against each other during America’s long-struggle for independence, during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783).
Fast forward to the 21st century and you cannot help but notice how the Queen never ceased to inject high doses of commitment and passion into her job. A true matriarch of the royal family, Elizabeth II has been responsible for making the monarchy once again relevant to the ideals and aspirations of the newer generations through embracing the Internet and social media as a relevant means to connect with the younger generations.
On behalf of all your friends in the United States of America Branch of the Institution of Fire Engineers, and the American Fire Service, may we express our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the people of the United Kingdom, each of you, your families, and co-workers in the IFE.
Our thoughts and prayers are- and will continue to be- with all of you, the people of the United Kingdom, members of the Institution of Fire Engineers, and the family members of Elizabeth II.
Randall W. Hanifen, Ph.D, CFO, FIFireE
President of the USA Branch of the Institution of Fire Engineers on behalf our our Board of Directors and Membership of the IFE-USA Branch