The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal

The QueenI am one of 60,000 Canadians to be honoured this year with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada. Over 2000 Ontarians were presented with their medals at a ceremony on June 18th at the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, followed by fabulous entertainment by some of Canada’s greatest performers.

The celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee featured video clips about our Queen and her life story, a story of more than 60 years of dedicated service. The Queen actually began volunteering at the age of 14. “The 14-year-old princess, showing her calm and firm personality, told Britain’s children in a radio address that ‘in the end, all will be well for God will care for us and give us victory and peace.’ Appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Grenadier Guards by her father, Elizabeth made her first public appearance inspecting the troops in 1942. She also began to accompany her parents on official visits within Great Britain. In 1945, Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service to help in the war effort. She trained side-by-side with other British women to be an expert driver and mechanic. While her volunteer work only lasted a few months, it offered Elizabeth a glimpse into a different, non-royal world.”

The Queen who is 86 years old,  continues to serve with grace and gracefulness. Queen Elizabeth handles roughly 430 engagements each year from and supports more than 600 charitable organizations and programs. She is only the second British Monarch to celebrate 60 years, the first being Queen Victoria. Queen Elizabeth is famous for many things, but one statement she made years ago stood out at the celebration. On her coronation 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.”

The evening was hosted by Lt Governor David C. Onley and Her Excellency, Ruth Ann Onley and special guests were The Governor General, David Johnson and his wife, Her Excellency, Sharon Johnson. The emcee for the evening was Peter Mansbridge and there were magnificent performances by celebrities such as Ben Heppner, Molly Johnson, Gordon Lightfoot, and Susan Aglukark , a short talk by Marc and Craig Keilburger on the values of volunteering and taking action to end injustices, as well as musical performances by a military band made up of representatives of all the services, and a Children’s Choir which sang the Vice Regal salute, as well as a native group which provided drum music, song and dance.

Andria and CommanderI was presented my medal by Rex Harrington, a star of the National Ballet Company, who also received a medal. He was attended by a Commander from the armed forces who actually pinned on the medal as shown in the attached photo. I felt quite privileged to be among the “cast” of Canadians who were acknowledged, but even more privileged to be able to continue to serve as President of March of Dimes.