By Bernard Rowan

My retired colleague, Dr. Hannah Jones, one of the first United Nations representatives from Liberia, taught me the phrase, "standing on their shoulders."

Each of us forms a link in life's caravan. Life depends on elders, on those who come before us. We have juniors standing on our shoulders, to the end of time. If time moves forward, it also repeats the past.

Korean society also believes we stand on the shoulders of others. Networks of seniors and juniors continue the miracle, the Republic of Korea. They repeat times long ago, before what we think of as the nation of Korea existed.

I mention Elizabeth II and her recent state funeral. The queen's devotion and commitment stemmed from an oath made in young adulthood. She understood well that she stood on the shoulders of her father, mother, and all her relatives, royal and otherwise.

She understood how this included the people of the United Kingdom. She did not seek her mantle, but accepted it fully and with great maturity at a young age. Whatever I "a Yankee" might think of monarchy, it's impressive to reflect on the lives touched by her work and commitment.

It also was good to see her family, in particular her children and grandchildren. Most of the British people understand it's their time to assume responsibility, steadily and without rancor. Transitions from great leaders are fraught with change and threats, as well as opportunities and challenges.

It can only be good that William, the future king, and Harry, his brother, joined with their wives in unity to greet well-wishers. May that harmony continue to unfold with respect for the accidents of hierarchy and priority that surround all hereditary monarchies, and with an absence of jealousy and rivalry.

However, most touching to me were Prince George and Princess Charlotte. They'll also stand on our shoulders. They'll face an even greater challenge, given all that is afoot in this world. May the openness and innocence their lives and presence represent meet a world open to their talents and sympathies.

I marveled at the royal ladies and children in black at Wellington Arch. It reminded me of the much-seen image of the late queen, her sister, mother, and grandmother at the funeral of her father, King George VI.

These moments aren't just about the death of a great person but about life's continuity and its great possibilities. Succession represents generations as life. All of us have parts to play. Those parts matter, no matter how great or small.

King Charles III may see more nations break away from the Commonwealth. He'll be wise to accept, with the grace he did the departure of Hong Kong. I hope environmentalism will form part of his active vision as monarch. Charles and William should align their works to the needs of the British people even more thoroughly.

The family of the late queen and her people joined to carry out her final journey. It was a peaceful and peaceable series of events and gatherings, formal and impromptu, across four countries and many other global places.

The solemnity of processions, masses, and services joined countless signs of genuine grief, mourning, commemoration, and celebration of a life well-lived. As a proponent of constitutional democracies, I also think the British have shared well and clearly an example of how leadership succession should occur.

Let's all take to heart standing on the shoulders of those who have come and gone before us. Let's call the next generation to do so too. Now, always, and forever more.


Bernard Rowan (browan10@yahoo.com) is associate provost for contract administration and professor of political science at Chicago State University. He is a past fellow of the Korea Foundation and former visiting professor at Hanyang University.






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Standing on the shoulders

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26.09.2022

By Bernard Rowan

My retired colleague, Dr. Hannah Jones, one of the first United Nations representatives from Liberia, taught me the phrase, "standing on their shoulders."

Each of us forms a link in life's caravan. Life depends on elders, on those who come before us. We have juniors standing on our shoulders, to the end of time. If time moves forward, it also repeats the past.

Korean society also believes we stand on the shoulders of others. Networks of seniors and juniors continue the miracle, the Republic of Korea. They repeat times long ago, before what we think of as the nation of Korea existed.

I mention Elizabeth II and her recent state funeral. The queen's devotion and commitment stemmed from an oath made in young adulthood. She understood well that she stood on the shoulders of her father, mother, and all her relatives, royal and otherwise.

She understood how this included the people of the United Kingdom. She did not........

© The Korea Times


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