OUTLOOK - Perhaps matching the mood of the day that was being felt around the world, the skies above Outlook were grey and rainy on Monday morning, September 19 as members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #262 held a ceremony honouring Queen Elizabeth II on the day she was laid to rest.
Held at the Veterans Memorial Park, the special service included a march-in by the Colour Party, bearing flags featuring black ribbons that were tied on, signifying that they were at half-mast in recognition.
As well, words by Outlook mayor Maureen Weiterman and Branch #262 President John McPhail spoke on the powerful reach and connection that Elizabeth had on places both near and far during her reign.
"Today, we gather to celebrate the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II," Mayor Weiterman told those gathered. "As stalwart citizens of the monarchy, many of us witnessed her visits to Saskatchewan, even though we were never blessed to have a visit in Outlook. Mostly, we have admired her from afar. She has been the epitome of grace and resilience. History will show her as a strong woman who grabbed ahold of a daunting task that she never wanted nor expected. Queen Elizabeth quietly - and maybe unintentionally - showed women that they could lead and have power and influence. Her poise and grace through some of the roughest moments in history have been a beacon to young women everywhere. I would like to think that Queen Elizabeth showed all of us how to be in the trenches when needed, but how to provide grace on the other side. Queen Elizabeth was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother. We would do well to remember all of that. As our monarch, she always provided hope and a sense of what could be. She will be missed. Rest in peace, your Majesty."
"On behalf of the membership of Branch #262 of the Royal Canadian Legion, I welcome you to today's memorial service to join us as we pay our respects to a remarkable sovereign and an extraordinary individual," President McPhail shared. "The Royal Canadian Legion is inextricably connected to the serving monarch. When individuals become members of the Legion, they swear an oath of loyalty to the Sovereign. Furthermore, a royal charter is required in order to open a new Legion branch in Canada. Branch #262 in Outlook received its charter on February 8, 1946 - 27,982 days ago. That means for 92% of our existence as a Legion branch, the Sovereign has been Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. However, the measure of a sovereign's effectiveness is not determined by longevity. It is identified by devotion to duty, dedication to unwavering principles and ideals that remain constant, a willingness to learn and accommodate change, while at the same time remaining faithful to the oath of office. Queen Elizabeth II excelled in all categories. In fact, it is accurate to say the she has rewritten the rule book for service and duty. We know that fewer that 48 hours before her passing, Queen Elizabeth II was still performing royal duties, one of which was constitutional and the other personal. She officially swore in Mary Elizabeth Truss as the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. On the same day, she instructed her personal secretary, Sir Edward Young, to send her personal condolences to the people of the James Smith Cree Nation who lost loved ones in the brutal murders of September 4th. On her 21st birthday, April 21, 1947, then-Princess Elizabeth made a pledge that she spent the remaining 75 years faithfully and unfailingly honouring. On that occasion, she made this promise: '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.' Today, at the state funeral, we gather in Outlook, Saskatchewan, to say thank you to Queen Elizabeth II. At this memorial ceremony, we show our admiration and respect for the incomparable reign of a truly exceptional sovereign and a uniquely devoted and selfless person."
After the Colour Party marched out, all of those who were gathered for the service were encouraged to step up and leave their poppies in front of a portrait of the Queen, which was featured on the Lest We Forget marker with a wreath left in front of it.
As dozens of people came up to leave their poppies and pay their respects, the image of all the red flowers laying in front of a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was a quieting image, but an image that still said something powerful.