Making a Difference Linda Knight Seccaspina
When I was a child we had to sing God Save the Queen each and every day at school. When we sang the words: “Long live our Noble Queen”, I always thought it meant Queen Elizabeth would live a long long time–and she did.
Between the two Queens: Elizabeth and Victoria, one looms larger than the rest — longevity.
Some protest that royalty is irrelevant in today’s world, outdated, and anti-democratic, but in all honesty, I admire this woman for her character and resilience. During WW2 she and her mother stayed with their people. Through all the turbulent years she has remained devoted to her duty.
Personally, I have known a few that have had a sense of duty like the late Queen Elizabeth, and I can’t imagine how hard it is to be stoic all these years. I was told a story in my life awhile ago about another person that was devoted, and today I feel like I should tell that story.
I was once great friends with a gentleman named John Manchester and his lovely wife Judy when I lived in Berkeley, Ca. I thought I knew everything about John, but I didn’t. I came home after one delightful outing and told my husband that John’s father had written some sort of book about President Kennedy. Steve gave me one of his looks and asked me if I knew who his father was.
In the next five minutes I was told that John’s father was William Manchester who had written “The Death of a President”. The book was published in 1967 by Harper and Row and became one the great American Classics. Seeing that my likes in those days consisted of celebrities, Madonna, and Sweet Valley High books, I brushed it all off.
Later that week John wrote a blog about his father and how he spent 95% of his time locked away writing. For 15 hours a day, 7 days a week he continously conducted over 1000 interviews to write a book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy behind locked doors. I read the blog three times, rolled my chair back, and began to think.
How does someone become so devoted? I will never be William Manchester, but I am very persistent in my goals. I begin at 7 am and sometimes finish around 8 pm researching and writing history, posting it on social media, and devoting a lot of time to my community as a councillor.
Some days I am sure all of us will wonder if we are making a difference in life. Throughout my life I have tried hard to make people understand that they mattered, and hope that maybe I made their day brighter at some point in time. But, I have always wondered if I have done enough. Had I really made a difference to anyone? Could a gal that grew up in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and now lives in rural Lanark County, Ontario ever make a difference?
Was I obsessed with my work ethic like William Manchester? Am I a writer now? Of course not; even with 6 published books– I will forever be a blogger and will never become even close to becoming a great writer like William Manchester– but I do know one thing. I have figured out that I can tell stories with my words just like the people that sat around the pickle barrel a long time ago and I am quite happy and content with that.
John Manchester was a real writer and his words made a difference to me—and that my friends is what it is all about in the very end; to be able to make a difference in someone’s life. My purpose in life is making things better for people. That’s all–everything else is just icing on the cake.
No matter how you look at it, Queen Elizabeth maintained a dignity and class that has fallen by the wayside around the world. This has taken a great strength of character that few are capable of. For that alone, she deserves to be recognized, respected and admired. Queen Elizabeth, in death as in life, has joined the tiny band of monarchs who have genuinely made a difference to history. I celebrate all those that show endurance and if anything, you have to give her one thing—this woman never missed a day of work.