Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 24 lay a wreath at the Cenotaph as a tribute to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and her military service. Trevor Crawley photo.

Cranbrook Legion marks Queen Elizabeth’s death, honours military service

A poignant service at Rotary Park on Monday marked the passing of Queen Elizabeth II while honouring her military service and legacy to the British Commonwealth.

Organized by the Cranbrook branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, the ceremony paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who was laid to rest in St. George’s Chapel in London Monday, after lying in state for four days at Westminster Hall.

The Cranbrook tribute was reminiscent of a Remembrance Day ceremony, with the playing of the Last Post and The Lament, while dignitaries and elected officials paid tribute to Canada’s longest-reigning monarch.

Veterans, cadets, and emergency services personnel marched into assembly at the Ceontaph to begin and conclude the ceremony.

Colleen Shaw, the president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 24, lauded the queen’s military service and commitment to her royal duties.

“She’s a fellow veteran…to our own veterans,” Shaw said. “She was a true citizen of the world in the very best way.”

As a teenager, Queen Elizabeth II carried out official duties on behalf of the Royal Family during the Second World War. In 1945, she enlisted in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) at 18 years of age and trained as a mechanic and military truck driver.

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka offered condolences on behalf of the province and drew back to the queen’s 1971 visit to Fort Steele and the impact the royal visit had on the community.

“Her legacy will live on in many organizations and charities she supported and her lifelong example of public service,” said Shypitka. “Through her own dedication and commitment, she inspired many of us to contribute to our communities, and treat each other with dignity.”

Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt echoed similar remarks.

“The visit to Cranbrook and Fort Steele was an honour for our city and our community and it was really well attended,” Pratt said. “We are thankful for the grace, dignity and strength for a world made better by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, who served the people with compassion and may she rest in peace.”

During the ceremony, Legion representatives distributed poppies to be laid at the Cenotaph, which was adorned with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II facing the bandstand. Public attendees also had the opportunity to sign a book of condolences following the ceremony.