WATCH: Queen’s Christmas Message Commemorates Moon Landing, D-Day Anniversaries

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STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Her Majesty The Queen marked the 50th anniversary of the moon landings and the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in a Christmas messsage which stressed reconciliation, and the beginning of great things from small steps.

“As a child, I never imagined that one day a man would walk on the moon. Yet this year we marked the 50th anniversary of the famous Apollo 11 mission,” said the 93-year-old in the opening to her traditional Christmas message, filmed in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.

“As those historic pictures were beamed back to Earth, millions of us sat transfixed to our television screens, as we watched Neil Armstrong taking a small step for man and a giant leap for mankind,” she continued.

“It’s a reminder for us all that giant leaps often start with small steps.”

She went on to note “another important anniversary: D-Day.”

“On 6th June 1944, some 156,000 British, Canadian, and American forces landed in northern France. It was the largest ever seaborne invasion and was delayed due to bad weather.

“I well remember the look of concern on my father’s face,” she added, recalling her late father, George VI.

“He knew the secret D-Day plans but could of course share that burden with no-one.”

“For the 75th anniversary of that decisive battle, in a true spirit of reconciliation, those who had formally been sworn enemies came together in friendly commemorations either side of the Channel, putting past differences behind them,” the Queen continued, referencing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s attendance at anniversary events.

 

“Such reconciliation seldom happens overnight. It takes patience and time to rebuild trust, and progress often comes through small steps.

“Since the end of the Second World War, many charities, groups and organisations have worked to promote peace and unity around the world, bringing together those who have been on opposing sides.

“By being willing to put past differences behind us and move forward together, we honour the freedom and democracy once won for us at so great a cost,” she added.

“My family and I are also inspired by the men and women of our emergency services and armed forces; and at Christmas we remember all those on duty at home and abroad, who are helping those in need and keeping us and our families safe and secure.”

The Queen also marked the birth of her eighth great-grandchild to Prince Harry and the Duchess of Susses, “Two hundred years on from the birth of my great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria” — using this as something of a segue into the story of the birth which remains at the heart of all Christmas celebrations.

“Of course, at the heart of the Christmas story lies the birth of a child: a seemingly small and insignificant step overlooked by many in Bethlehem.

“But in time, through his teaching and by his example, Jesus Christ would show the world how small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding.

“Many of us already try to follow in his footsteps. The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference,” she said.

“As Christmas dawned, church congregations around the world joined in singing It Came Upon The Midnight Clear. Like many timeless carols, it speaks not just of the coming of Jesus Christ into a divided world, many years ago, but also of the relevance, even today, of the angel’s message of peace and goodwill.

“It’s a timely reminder of what positive things can be achieved when people set aside past differences and come together in the spirit of friendship and reconciliation. And, as we all look forward to the start of a new decade, it’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.

“And so, I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”

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