The etymology of tradition is from the Latin: “ to give across.” The beliefs, customs, and practices given across or handed down from one generation to the next becomes an anchor in our lives when everything else seems to be in a constant state of change.
During this week following the passing of Queen Elizabeth, the power of tradition becomes clear. While for some, the pageantry may seem antiquated and even irrelevant, for many it is a comfort and a rare experience of groundedness, endurance, and the things that remain with the passing of time.
One of the traditions of the British is the paying of respect. Five miles of people stood in line for hours to walk by the coffin of the late Queen to say a proper goodbye. In her life, the Queen followed predictable customs and upheld values of faith, family, civility, following rules, staying the course, giving and expecting respect.
These are not flashy concepts but served the country well during all kinds of troubles. One of the things I have admired most about the Queen is her behavior during World War II. Her family stayed in London during the blitz and did not run away; she not only talked about defending her country but she became a mechanic for military vehicles. Wearing a crown is one thing; backing up power with practical and predictable duty is another.
Duty, service, respect, family, moderation. Her sensible shoes will be hard to fill. They remind us that what is most worth passing on may not be be glamorous, but it is the stuff that endures and helps us to “stay calm and carry on.”