50Th Anniversary of the Death of Sir Winston Churchillby Representative Mac Thornberry
Posted on 2015-01-22
in the house of representatives
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Mr. THORNBERRY. Mr. Speaker, this Saturday, January 24, marks the
50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill. Few leaders in
history made such a mark during their lives, and very few have
attracted such study and admiration after their deaths.
Even now, 50 years after his passing at age 90 and 75 years after his ``finest hour'' when Britain and Churchill stood alone against the Nazi menace, new books and articles about his life and leadership pour forth.
The Churchill Centre is a growing international organization with a mission to ``foster leadership, statesmanship, vision, courage and boldness among democratic and freedom loving peoples worldwide, through the thoughts, words, works and deeds of Winston Spencer Churchill.'' The Churchill Centre and The George Washington University here in Washington are building a National Churchill Library and Center. Hillsdale College is publishing all remaining volumes of The Churchill Documents.
The list of activities related to Churchill is long, even 50 years after his death. And, as one measure of popular interest, there are few historical figures who are more regularly misquoted or falsely quoted on the Internet than he.
I think there are many reasons that Sir Winston continues to fascinate and inspire.
In part, there are his monumental achievements, for few statesmen did as much to shape the world in which we live. Were it not for his vision and his willingness to stand up to the conventional wisdom of his day, history could have had a far different outcome.
In part, it is his oratory. Just as his words inspired his nation and the world to stand up to evil then, they still inspire us today.
In part, there are his writings, which continue to be studied and referenced as Churchill the politician was a leading figure throughout the first half of the twentieth century, and Churchill the author helped shape our understanding of those momentous times.
I also believe that the continuing interest in Winston Churchill stems in substantial measure from the many ups and downs of his career. We all draw inspiration from someone who perseveres through higher accolades and lower derision than us will ever experience.
Finally, Churchill the person remains a dazzling personality, fully of humor and eccentricities adding to the interest of new admirers.
The qualities that he exhibited are timeless--qualities such as courage, patriotism, hard work, loyalty, and love of family.
And, many of the principles for which he stood and fought are timeless as well, such as the need to recognize and confront evil and to nurture and protect freedom.
He believed that the values of Western Civilization are a force for good and that the English-speaking peoples had unique contributions to offer the rest of the world on freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.
As one who was half American by blood, he appreciated America.
That appreciation has been returned by millions of Americans over the generations.
His bust has been added to the U.S. Capitol's Freedom Foyer, where it continues to inspire visitors and those of us who work here, thereby continuing to serve as a major link in the ``special relationship'' between the United States and the United Kingdom.
The lives of great leaders are always worth remembering and studying, and as long as freedom is cherished, I am confident that Sir Winston Churchill will be studied long into the future.