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Fort Macleod residents pay final respects to Queen Elizabeth II

Fort Macleod residents paid their final respects Monday to Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony at the cenotaph.

Branch 46 of the Royal Canadian Legion organized a memorial service for the Queen, who died Sept. 8 after a reign of more than 70 years.

“Queen Elizabeth II witnessed and participated in Canada’s growth and development,” master of ceremonies Tony Miller said. “Her presence at key moments in our history clearly demonstrated her dedication and personal commitment as Queen of Canada.”

Close to 40 people gathered at the cenotaph on Second Avenue Monday morning for a ceremony that coincided with Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

Rev. MiYeon Kim offered a prayer and the benediction.

Monday was proclaimed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a national day of mourning.

A commemorative ceremony was held Monday morning at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa, following a memorial parade and 96-gun salute — one for each year of the Queen’s life.

“For most Canadians, she was the only monarch we ever knew and many of us felt a deep affection and appreciation for her dedication to Canada,” Trudeau said in a statement. “This is a time to honour an extraordinary life of public service marked by grace, dignity, and an unwavering sense of duty.”

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952, was crowned on June 2, 1953, and reigned for more than 70 years.

Miller noted Queen Elizabeth made 22 official visits to Canada, the most to any country.

“As part of a conscious effort s=to see all provinces and territories, the Queen developed an extensive knowledge of Canada and an appreciation for its diverse peoples,” Miller said. “She frequently described Canada as her home.”

Miller quoted comments made by the Queen during a 2010 visit to Halifax when she said Canadians have built a country and society widely admired across the world.

“I am fortunate to have been a witness to many of the developments and accomplishments of modern Canada,” the Queen said. “As Queen of Canada . . .my pride in this country remains undimmed.”

gelein hart
Gelein Hart placed a poppy on the wreath at the base of the cenotaph.

Miller also noted many Indigenous people honour their relationship with the Crown, for the stability and continuity it provided.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 recognized and protected the rights of Indigenous people.

“The Crown also signed many treaties that established a relationship based on peace, co-operation and respect between settlers and indigenous communities,” Miller said. “This relationship became more complex over time, but Queen Elizabeth II always maintained a warm, personal relationship with Indigenous people.”

The Queen made it a point on each royal tour to meet with Indigenous leaders and attend cultural events.

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered as a sovereign committed to duty and service,” Miller said. “her steadfast dedication and support highlighted many charities throughout Canada.”

Thirty-six Canadian organizations benefited from the royal patronage of the Queen, Miller said, as did 17 military units and the RCMP.

“She was one of the world’s top benefactor,” Miller added.

The ceremony at the Fort Macleod cenotaph included the playing of O Canada, and a prayer by Trinity United Church minister Rev. MiYeon Kim.

“We give thanks for the life, fidelity, courage and service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth,” Rev. Kim said. “She has constantly shown us faithfulness, kindness, courage and strength.”

basil wade
Sgt. at Arms Basil Wade lowered and raised the Canadian flag.

“May her dedication to a life of service to the nation and Commonwealth remain an example for all leaders.”

The Last Post played, followed by two minutes of silence, and then Reveille as Sgt. at Arms Basil Wade lowered and raised the Canadian flag.

Rev. Kim also gave the benediction.

The ceremony closed with the recitation of the Act of Remembrance and the singing of God Save the King.

Legion vice-president Dan Markey placed a wreath on the cenotaph, and people in attendance later attached poppies to the wreath.

“Queen Elizabeth II had been steadfast in her commitment to Canada and has execute her duties as Queen with dignity, wisdom and a dedication that is a model of service to all Canadians,” Miller said.

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