Skip to content

Coffee with Warren: Queen Elizabeth II, icon of oneness

The late Queen Elizabeth II has left us a truly inspiring legacy of wisdom so needful for our day – and indeed, right here in Cochrane.
Warren Harbeck Sept. 15

The late Queen Elizabeth II has left us a truly inspiring legacy of wisdom so needful for our day – and indeed, right here in Cochrane. As she said in her 1974 Christmas broadcast:

I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.

And to work together to what end? It’s about honouring our common humanity, she often stressed:

"Discrimination still exists. Some people feel that their own beliefs are being threatened. Some are unhappy about unfamiliar cultures. They all need to be reassured that there is so much to be gained by reaching out to others; that diversity is indeed a strength and not a threat.”

Her emphasis on building on our diversity characterized her monarchy from its earliest days. It’s about committing ourselves to cooperating together for the good and honourable, to bring about peace and goodwill. As she so famously said in her Christmas broadcast of 1963:

“Humanity can only progress if we are all truly ambitious for what is good and honourable. We know the reward is peace on Earth, goodwill toward men, but we cannot win it without determination and concerted effort.”

I saw that very wisdom radiant in her 1973 visit to Calgary as the invited guest of the Indian Association of Alberta. (See accompanying photo.)

To me, that is a giant exclamation mark on the Cochrane Rotary and Stoney Nakoda members’ initiative to establish an Indigenous Centre in our town (see last week’s column), a place of welcome to be known as Wazin Îchinabi Ti, “House of Oneness.”

Thank you, Your Majesty, for being an icon of oneness for us.