“Ave atque Vale,” meaning Hale and Farewell, are Latin words that poet Catullus wrote upon the death of his brother. The full phrase is “Atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale.” This week, just two days after her final official act of appointing Liz Truss as the UK’s new prime minister, Queen Elizabeth passed into history. The first prime minister Queen Elizabeth worked with was Winston Churchill. Throughout 70 years of her reign, Queen Elizabeth was known to many as an icon of grace, strength, and stability.
In her honor, icons around the world displayed visual tributes. The London Eye dimmed. The Eiffel Tower went dark.The Empire State Building in New York illuminated in royal purple and silver. Blackpool Tower displayed red, white, and blue – colors of the UK flag – as did the Fountain of Cybele in Spain and the Brandenburg Gate in Germany. The Sydney Opera House in Australia featured an image of the queen.
The passing of a sovereign is often planned in advance to ensure a peaceful and orderly transition of power. There is always a code phrase. In the case of Queen Elizabeth II, the code phrase was: “London Bridge is Down.” London Bridge was the first large stone bridge in England, completed in 1209. Subject of art, legends, and even a traditional children’s song, London Bridge remains symbolic in many ways. Bridges extend across barriers, facilitating communication. Metaphorically, we also speak of bridges as spanning one era to the next, as in bridging history.
Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G. Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Un