While people lined the streets of London, England Monday morning, and around the world others were glued to TVs to say their final goodbye and see Queen Elizabeth II laid to rest, in Niagara-on-the-Lake a small crowd gathered in the drizzle for a Royal Canadian Legion service in her honour.
Before long, the rain stopped, the umbrellas went down, and about 100 residents paid their respects to their monarch of 70 years.
Rev. Sheldon Kofsky led the service with Bible readings he said were favourites of the Queen, including the 23rd Psalm. Last Post was played, two minutes of silence observed, the Canadian flag at the cenotaph lowered and raised again, and Lord Mayor Betty Disero and Legion Branch 124 president Al Howse spoke to the gathering.
“Our hearts were filled with great sorrow learning of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Sept 8, 2022,” said Disero.
Through her years on the throne, from 1952 until the year of her 70th anniversary of her reign — longer than her four predecessors put together and a milestone that will forever be remembered — she epitomized the essence of public service, Disero said.
“As the first Capital of Upper Canada, the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is eternally grateful for its rich ties to the British Crown. NOTL and the Royal Family have had strong ties for decades. In these times of grief, it is our responsibility to offer support and deepest condolences to the Royal Family, the people of the United Kingdom, and those who unite the Commonwealth.”
Howse said although the Queen’s role in Canada was a ceremonial position, “she was, nevertheless, a great example for us.”
On her 21st birthday, she declared “‘that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.’ She defined service for all of us,” Howse said.
“She understood military service, and what it meant to the soldier, the family and the local community,” as did the Prince of Wales, her sons and grandsons.
“Her Majesty was the example of integrity. She lived a very ethical life, following her faith and her understanding of her position.” She was diplomatic in difficult times as the Commonwealth changed to meet modern needs, said Howse, and her stoic style kept her above politics, but she also had a keen understanding of current affairs.
“God bless the memory of Queen Elizabeth II.”
After a benediction by Kofsky, and the laying of a wreath, the service ended with the crowd singing, many for the first time, God Save The King.