The first day of the second half of 2011 has come, bringing with it of course a very special occasion on which to reflect. Sure, the U.S. Postal Service introduced five-digit ZIP codes in 1963, Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, and Vermont’s civil unions law took effect in 2000, but this day surpasses all of that. Today, more memorable to many than any other first-of-July moment in history, is what would have been Princess Diana’s 50th birthday.
The tributes are flowing, both online and on location. As People Magazine writes today: “The occasion is hardly going unnoticed in London, where remembrances in the form of cakes, candles, cards and other tributes are being left outside the gates of Kensington Palace…” The aptly titled blog, princess-diana-remembered.com, pays lovely tribute to her today as well. And naturally, Life Magazine has a collector’s edition on sale, titled “Diana at 50.”
While thousands upon thousands of Diana’s admirers wonder what would have been had she lived, I join them in wishing the late princess were here to celebrate her half-century mark. At the same time, recalling my cherished experience of seeing and videotaping her up close on the campus of Northwestern University in June 1996, I remember her today for the beauty she radiated, both inside and out. Like so many cultural icons who died young, Diana is forever young and beautiful, immortalized in our minds and hearts forever.
Happy 50th Diana. Your spirit lives!