For only the fifth time in her 68 year reign, England’s Queen Elizabeth went on the air Sunday to address her countrymen and offer reassurance and hopeful words in a time of crisis and consternation.
- Thanked health care workers for their service to their countrymen
- Acknowledged the sacrifices being made in this crisis, congratulating everyone doing their part to keep themselves and their fellow citizens safe
- Promised, “We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”
Here is some of what the Queen didn’t do:
- Speak at an absurd length (her address, the first of its kind in eight years, lasted just over four minutes)
- Offer medical advice
- “Punch down” on other government leaders
- Make promises that will have to be walked back or simply denied ever being made.
As a a historical figure, the Queen understands that history informs our understanding of the present and offers us a glimpse into the future.
It isn’t easy, but if we can be mindful of history, it’s easier to have hope going forward.
What’s happening right now, throughout the world, is terrible. But it’s not the first terrible thing for countries affected by COVID 19. This isn’t the first time the people of these countries have have endured devastating conditions, medical and economic.
With her address the Queen acknowledged there is great suffering and there will be more suffering.
Then she promised that eventually, perhaps more slowly than we will want, things will get better.
“We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”
The Queen’s use of the phrase ‘we will meet again‘ holds great meaning for the people of England. It’s a reference to Britain’s rallying anthem of World War II “We’ll Meet Again.” (BTW: The song’s popularizer, Vera Lynn, just turned 103).
One more thing the Queen said:
We will succeed — and that success will belong to every one of us.”
Please remember that.
We expect leaders to inspire and to use the means they control to help achieve success for everyone. But we all have parts to play in the fight, and we all will own a piece of the victory that will come.
Please, stay safe.
We’ll meet again
Don’t know where, Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day