On a day infused with emotion, Queen Elizabeth II tapped the blade of a sword once owned by her father on the slender shoulders of 100-year-old Tom Moore, making a hero of a nation a knight of the realm Friday. Moore captivated the British public by walking 100 laps of his garden in England and raising some 33 million pounds ($40 million) for the National Health Service in April. The queen knighted him with the traditional sword tap, the AP reports, but the World War II veteran was not required to take a knee. Instead, Moore steadied himself against his now-famous walker and wheeled himself across the grass to stand in front of Elizabeth outside Windsor Castle. "I have been overwhelmed by the many honours I have received over the past weeks, but there is simply nothing that can compare to this,'' he tweeted later. "I am overwhelmed with pride and joy."
Moore, who rose to the rank of captain while serving in India and Burma during the war, revealed that he and Elizabeth spoke about ages—slightly breaking the protocol of not revealing a private conversation with the queen. "She did mention I’m 100, and I said to her, 'Well, you've a long way to go yet,' so she's alright," he said. Moore walked into his countrymen's hearts —they sent him thousands of birthday cards—by setting a goal of marking his 100th birthday with a garden lap for each year of his life. His family elevated the challenge by using social media and the motto #TomorrowWillBeAGoodDay to seek donations to support health care workers during the pandemic, in part a show of gratitude for the doctors and nurses who took care of Moore when he broke his hip last year. (He never dreamed he'd raise millions.)