Letter: Losing the giants
Grief is what we pay for love.
And it is worth it.
Within less than two weeks, two remarkable individuals left us: Mikhail Gorbachev on Aug. 30 and Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8.
Gorbachev was a politician and the last leader of the Soviet Union. He was instrumental in reducing nuclear arms in collaboration with the United States and Western leaders. He removed the Iron Curtain that had divided Europe since World War II. He received the Nobel Peace prize in 1990.
Gorbachev was born in a peasant family of Russian and Ukrainian descent.
Queen Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, England, to a royal family, so it may not mean a lot about where one comes from but what one does as a person going forward. Queen Elizabeth was not a politician. She reigned over 14 countries and the Commonwealth of 54 countries.
Over 70 years of kindness, humor and remarkable strength in being a leader of humanity and not of politics, she ruled as a sovereign with 14 prime ministers starting with Winston Churchill and fulfilling her duties to the last day of her life.
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Elizabeth died loved by millions around the world, while Gorbachev passed away in silence. Yet his contributions brought freedom of speech, movement and choice to untold millions as well. We here in the valley and elsewhere should pause and learn a little from both these extraordinary giants of history, and acknowledge their gifts to humanity, freedom and tolerance.
Jan E Helen