Editors Note: Though the Chartwell Society of Portland is not an official affiliate of The Churchill Centre, we welcome Churchill news from all across the world. Should the group one day wish to become an affiliate they would certainly be warmly welcomed.
BY William D. Schaub, President, Chartwell Society of Portland, Oregon
Members of the Chartwell Society of Portland, Oregon assembled on November 29, 2011 at Arlington Club for their annual birthday dinner to honor the memory of Winston Churchill. Attending were 49 members and guests of the society, which was formed in 1992.
Led by Master of Ceremonies and a Chartwell founder, John B. DesCamp Jr. Esq., the evening began with a presentation by master piper Jori Lance Chisholm of Seattle Washington. Mr. Chisholm presented a medley of bagpipe tunes that would have been very familiar to Churchill including “Salute to Mr. Winston Churchill” composed by Pipe Major A. Lewis of the 10th Highland Light Infantry in 1947 and published in the Second Edcath Collection of Pipe Music. Jori is the three time United States Gold Medal piping champion, a member of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band and the son of member Craig Chisholm.
The traditional dinner of roast beef, accompanied by Pol Roget champagne, select wines, Churchill Port and Hine cognac for the toasts, was presented in a room beautifully decorated for Christmas.
The tone of the evening was set by the draped flags of the United States, Great Britain and France, overlooked by the Karsh portrait of Sir Winston. The only item missing from the evening’s toasts was the fragrance of Romeo y Julieta Churchills which, in this age of political correctness, have been prohibited by the City of Portland for indoor consumption.
Our traditional toasts were thoughtfully and ably presented: to Charles DeGaulle, by Chartwell founder and WWII US Naval officer J. Kenneth Brody, Esq.; to King George VI by Honorary UK Consul and native Scotsman, Andrew MacRitchie; to General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower by former US Army Lieutenant William Frerichs; to President Franklin D. Roosevelt by John DiLorenzo, Jr., Esq.
The formal toasts concluded with a rousing and humorous toast to Sir Winston presented by former state legislator and Republican Congressional nominee, L. Scott Bruun. Following the toasts, the members heard Sir Winston’s voice in an excerpt from his world broadcast 16 October 1938 speech: “We Must Arm”.
The evening concluded with thoughtful remarks by members, including: WWII veteran and a Chartwell founder, Gerald Frank, on the current need in the US and the world for the quality of leadership displayed by Churchill and Roosevelt; by Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Hallman on his personal meeting with William Manchester and the upcoming third installment to the Manchester trilogy; a hilarious presentation by Sean Higgins on Churchill’s cigars and smoking habits; by U.S. Naval aviator and Blue Angel leader, Capt. Greg Wooldridge USN (Ret) on Churchill and the Navy; by Honorary German Consul and Iron Curtain escapee, Gunther Hoffman, on the leadership of Churchill and Reagan; by Honorary French Consul, Claudine Fisher on the French song “Pere la Victoire” which Churchill sang (in full!) in French to de Gaulle, in June 1940, when de Gaulle visited London and met Churchill for the first time. Then on November 11, 1944, de Gaulle reciprocated and had the song played by the National Music Band at the parade to please Churchill in Paris and to celebrate the final victory; and by new member Ky Fullerton on the passing of his 95 year old grandfather and the Churchillian lessons he learned from him. Finally, Geoff Cutler concluded with thought provoking observations on Churchill’s actions in Iraq and, 80 years later, the involvement there of the US. Mr. Cutler didn’t offer final conclusions but, in the long view characteristic of the Chinese, said he believes it is too early to tell the outcome for Iraq and the Middle East of these events.
In a meditation on the human cost of war, Mr. DesCamp closed the evening by reciting the words of Kemal Ataturk which appear in the inscription on the Turkish memorial to the soldiers who fell at Gallipoli in The Great War.
The members adjourned in anticipation of our 20th dinner to be held November 30, 2012.