God Save the Queen
|Photo taken by Tim Mossholder (shared via Unsplash)|
Queen Elizabeth II was the longest serving British monarch in history. She was born on April 26, 1926, in Mayfair, London, and passed on September 8, 2022, at Balmoral Castle at the age of 96. She reigned for 70 years and 214 days, and was married to Philip Mountbatten for 73 years until his passing in 2021. Queen Elizabeth II was served by 15 British prime ministers during her unparalleled reign. It is difficult to measure how much the world changed during her lifetime, and impossible to precisely gauge the profoundly positive influence she had not only on her kingdom, but upon the world. Furthermore, to state that Queen Elizabeth II was an amazing woman would be a gross understatement.
In 1947, while on an overseas tour, then Princess Elizabeth broadcast a pledge to the British Commonwealth on her 21st birthday. She said, “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” When Princess Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, passed in February of 1952, she ascended to the throne at the age of 25.
The reign of Queen Elizabeth II was not without its challenges. She faced decades of conflict in Northern Ireland, the decolonization of Africa, withdrawal from the European Union, and the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet what was unusual was not the significant challenges she faced as a monarch, but rather the manner in which she faced them. Through the years, she had weekly meetings with her various prime ministers who came from competing political parties. British commentors stated that she would not express political opinions publicly, and that very little was known about her personal political positions. This seems strikingly different from our politically polarized American leaders. Duty to her subjects and kingdom transcended self.
Similar to the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II, Weatherford College is the oldest continuously operating community college west of the Mississippi River. Just as Queen Elizabeth II overcame significant challenges, Weatherford College faced the challenges of two world wars, numerous financial crises, and two campus relocations. Both Queen Elizabeth II and WC faced significant changes associated with advances in technology, industry needs, and societal change in general. Finally, both Queen Elizabeth II and WC significantly impacted those they respectively served.
Through the decades, Weatherford College has changed countless lives. Her bell rings out the call of opportunity, and her classrooms challenge generations of bright young minds. Weatherford College is the fertile ground where seeds of thought begin to sprout, where young minds are nurtured and groomed, and where legions of leaders are created.
As I both ponder and admire the parallels between Queen Elizabeth II and the noble institution that is Weatherford College, I find myself in awe of both. The only appropriate accolade that comes to mind are the famous lyrics from the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen.”
The British constitutional monarchy moved beyond the passing of a single monarch and now has a new sovereign to lead the United Kingdom. The noble institution that is Weatherford College is also larger than any one individual or group of individuals. The mission of WC transcends groups or individuals and empowers generations. Our mission is clear and our purpose is pure, and I for one intend to spend myself in this worthy cause.