My An Arkie's Faith column from the September 28, 2022, issue of The Polk County Pulse.
Along with many other Americans, my wife and I watched with viewers worldwide as Great Britain paid a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II with a state funeral and military procession. Her reign of 70 years and 214 days is the longest of any British monarch and the longest verified reign of any female sovereign in history.
Queen Elizabeth II's coffin was taken in a solemn procession to Westminster Abbey on the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy, drawn by 142 sailors. King Charles III walked alongside his siblings, Princess Anne, Princes Andrew, and Edward. The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex followed behind. As the funeral procession entered the abbey, world leaders, politicians, and foreign royalty stood as her coffin was carried up the aisle.
During the funeral service, The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: "People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer. But in all cases, those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten." He also spoke of how the Queen had declared on her 21st birthday "that her whole life would be dedicated to serving the nation and Commonwealth." The Archbishop added: "Rarely has such a promise been so well kept. Few leaders receive the outpouring of love we have seen."
A while ago, I came across a quote by the American author, historian, and Unitarian minister, Edward Everett Hale. He said, "I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will." It is an excellent motto for your life.
Queen Elizabeth II was in a position of power and influence to make a difference in the world. An article in the online magazine The Conversation stated it this way. "Her wisdom and unceasing sense of duty meant she was widely viewed with a combination of respect, esteem, awe, and affection, which transcended nations, classes, and generations. She was immensely proud of Britain and its people, yet in the end, she belonged to the world, and the world mourned her passing." But most people don't feel that they can make a difference. What can just one person do?
A few years ago. A friend of mine was upset about a situation, and through his actions made a big difference, even though he was an ocean away. I found out what one person can do.
The narrative started back in 1916. The Battle of the Somme was one of the biggest battles of the First World War. Fought near the Somme River in France, it was also one of the deadliest battles in history. On July 1, 1916, 19,240 British soldiers lost their lives. It was the bloodiest day in the history of the British army.
July 1, 2016, marked the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. As a tribute to these soldiers, the British Royal Legion issued 19,240 hand-crafted solid brass limited edition golden poppy lapel pins, one for each British soldier who lost his life that day. Each pin came with a certificate featuring details of the individual soldier it commemorated.
The intricate golden pins were made from the brass of melted-down shell fuses found on the Somme battlefields and feature a prominent red center, painted with paint mixed with soil from the same fields. The British Royal Legion sold the pins for £39.99, with all proceeds being used to provide care and support for members of the British Armed Forces and their families. Unsurprisingly the poppies sold out within hours.
My friend, whose Grandfather fought during World War I, tried to purchase one but was unsuccessful. He looked on the British Legion site, but they had all sold out very quickly. He thought, "I bet someone is trying to profit off that," so he looked on eBay and found that there was already one listed, selling for nearly £400.
He said, "one of the sellers I contacted first was so mean and arrogant it just got me angry. It upset him to see opportunists making huge profits off something that had such meaning. He told me, "My Grandfather was in the Cavalry in the great war. The slaughter was incredible as humans fought the first real mechanized war. It was supposed to be the 'War that ended Wars.' Sadly, as we know, this was a forlorn dream."
My friend decided to contact the press in Great Britain. He was nervous when he called the papers, but the British newspaper Mirror published an article about reselling the golden poppy lapel pins, mentioning my friend. He was delighted when the BBC reported on it, and soon eBay removed the golden poppy lapel pins.
One man made a difference. Jude 1:22 (NKJV) says, "And on some have compassion, making a difference." You can make a difference. You can have compassion. You may not contribute to making a change an ocean away, but you can make a difference to someone. John F. Kennedy said, "One person can make a difference, and everyone should try."