I love all things British. It may be partly my heritage - half English/half Italian, that explains the visceral reaction I felt this afternoon when I read that Big Ben was losing its name.
The Italian side of me was angry, and the English half felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I want to know - did they ask the citizens? Did Parliament just make this decision unilaterally? I'm a fan of tradition, which includes KEEPING THE NAME AS IT IS! I've also been in favor of keeping the monarchy, which has been an ongoing, spirited debate among Brits.
I'm an audiobook addict, and I've had an insatiable interest in British royalty. I've listened to every book out there from William I to Henry VIII to our current Queen Elizabeth. I never grow tired of hearing a British narrator read to me about all of the lives of the Kings and Queens of this beloved country. I've had the absolute pleasure of visiting England and long to return someday.
It wouldn't be the same without Big Ben. I know he'll still be there, standing tall and strong, but without the same connotation. It's a symbol. A symbol of history, and it should be preserved. Europeans are better with preserving history than the US, as we're still a younger country in comparison, but it's part of the allure that brings tourists far and wide. Ben's name has been steeped in this history for generations, so why was it tinkered with?
I remember standing in awe at the enormity of that gorgeously crafted tower clock. I strolled the quaint streets of Stratford-upon-Avon, where the masterful wordsmith Shakespeare was born. I was mesmerized by the stories behind the Roman baths in the town of Bath. My mouth was agape with the pomp and circumstance of the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. I was greeted by the beefeaters that 'guard' the Tower of London as the ravens pierced me with their glares. I stood on the very spot where most of Henry VIII's doomed wives met their gruesome ends.
My husband tells me people will still call it Big Ben, but I'm not so convinced. It breaks my heart. Since it's a done deal, I can only hope my husband is right. I know I will ALWAYS refer to it by its given name.