Queen’s Death Impacts UCM Students


Photo by Gift Azinsu

With the James C. Kirkpatrick Library in the background, the American flag flies at half-staff over the University of Central Missouri’s campus on Sept. 8, after Queen Elizabeth II’s death. Each flag is displayed at half-staff as a sign of respect or mourning. Nationwide, this action is proclaimed by the president; state-wide or territory-wide, the proclamation is made by the governor. Flags will fly at half-staff for the queen for a total of 12 days, a period far longer than any of the other foreign leaders honored in recent decades. But the length is largely due to Britain’s 10-day mourning period.

Written by Gift Azinsu

On Sept. 8, the American and Missouri state flags, while at half-staff, ruffled in the breeze of a pale blue sky, gilded with white clouds in front of the University of Central Missouri’s James C. Kirkpatrick Library. Each flag was displayed at half-staff as a sign of respect and mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. Many UCM International students reflected upon their homeland’s reactions and mixed feelings as they send their warm wishes to the royal family and those affected as the queen was put to rest on Sept. 19  at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

  “She has been queen even before my mother was born,” international student from Nigeria Simbiat Lawal said. “I started becoming aware of her rule when I was in High School and what intrigues me is how she was able to balance ruling nations and her family. Of course, there is not one without fault. Still, I would say her ruling was balanced and very inspiring.” 

  Her Majesty, queen Elizabeth, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, died at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, after reigning for 70 years. According to the Associated Press, she died peacefully on Sept. 8 at her Scottish estate, where she had spent much of the summer.  President Joe Biden issued a proclamation hours after the death of the queen ordering all flags at U.S. federal and military facilities to fly at half-staff  “as a mark of respect,” one of several symbolic gestures around the globe to honor the influential tenure of the 96-year-old sovereign.

  Many students grappled with the announcement of the queen’s death being just a day after the excitement of UCM’s annual Get The Red Out event. The announcement of the queen’s death through a Tweet from the official account of the Royal Family made Kriszti Sarusi, an international student from Hungary take a pause and reflect on the historical moment. 

  “I started seeing all the social media posts from my friends in Malta. They are Maltese or British citizens, so they were posting about it, so eventually, I started seeing it in the local news as well,” Sarusi said

  Many students believe the local news and online information helped keep them informed about the queen and have the ability to express their grief to pay their respects. Others have mixed feelings towards the UK’s new king and possible changes ahead.

  “Slowly, there will be changes on the coins and notes from the queen to King Charles III and everyone is upset about that,” Azeem Akram, an international student from the UK said. “With the Queen passing, the image of the UK is not going to be good now. The next heir to the throne is King Charles, most people are not as keen on him as the head of the common wealth.”