Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Malta and King George VI

It was on April 15, 1942 that His Majesty King George VI awarded the island-fortress of Malta the George Cross for collective heroism in standing up to the constant pounding by Axis forces during World War II. Due to its strategic location the island of Malta has been the center of many battles throughout the centuries but the people as a whole did display great courage and determination during the constant bombings of World War II. They relied on the forces of the British Empire and the spiritual comfort of their devout Catholic faith. The Maltese children prayed for the Virgin Mary to spread her veil over the island, catch the bombs in it and throw them into the sea. The award of the George Cross was an unprecedented event, it had never been awarded to an entire population before and the Maltese were so justly proud of the accomplishment represented by the medal that the George Cross has been featured on the national flag of Malta ever since.
This is also a good occasion to remember the great man and monarch who was George VI, the last King-Emperor in British history. His reign was the end of an era in many ways but he was also a shining example. For me, George VI just had the "look" of what the ideal king should be. He had an immense sense of duty, he was hard working, always dignified, upright, courageous and a man of principle. He was inspirational for his calm example during the Blitz in World War II and for staying in London to endure the suffering of the city alongside his subjects. He had been under fire before having participated in the epic naval battle of Jutland during World War I. He was so devoted to the legal principles of his constitutional monarchy that he carried out his duties even when they worked against his Crown. If the Prince of Wales takes the expected course and decides to reign as "King George VII" he will certainly have immense shoes to fill.

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