July 5, 2013

FINEST HOUR 128, AUTUMN 2005

ABSTRACT
WIN SOME, LOSE SOME: Officers of The Churchill Centre constantly strive to create interest in our educational and historical work among “the Good and the Great.” Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we don’t, but the odds of success are greater today than they were two or three years ago.

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Two or three years ago I telephoned Dr. Henry Kissinger’s Washington, D.C. office to inquire as to his availability to address a Churchill Centre benefit dinner. Although I identified myself as one of his former students, I explained that I was calling as President of The Churchill Centre. His secretary responded: “The what?!”

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Momentarily taken aback, I repeated “The Churchill Centre” and briefly described who we were and what we did. Again an unwelcome response: “I’ve never heard of it.” More than a bit irritated, I thanked her for her time and terminated the brief conversation, vowing that if I ever called again (which I have not) my reception would be quite different.

I cannot state with any certainty that, today The Centre would be instantly recognizable by Dr. Kissinger’s office or a score of other offices like it in the capital of the United States. But I am sure a major change has occurred since that call. The Centre’s footprint is now much larger and more sharply defined in Washington, D.C, and far beyond. We are on the “radar screens” of many organizations and people of influence. However one wishes to describe it, The Churchill Centre is a recognized positive presence in the political hub of the international community as well as throughout North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

This much higher level of recognition may be credited to a number of factors: our established Washington location, no longer new but definitely important; a knowledgeable professional staff; the Library of Congress Exhibit and its attendant academic and social functions; meaningful relationships with kindred organizations; numerous continual contacts with congressional and administration leaders; an active and supportive local affiliate, the Washington Society for Churchill; the Churchill Lecture series; and the willing and valuable assistance of prominent non-government personalities such Lady Soames, Celia Sandys, Winston Churchill, Jack Kemp and Chris Matthews.

It should now be apparent that those interested in Churchill, in the conduct and lessons of 20th century history, in the essence of leadership, and in the major tides and currents of the past hundred years, must belong to The Churchill Centre. The Centre is widely understood to be the source of choice for things Churchill and Churchill-related. Quotations and references are frequently sought by and supplied to those in government, in the press and in academia. Recently, statements for both the Congressional Record and for the White House were provided on the 40th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s death. Other organizations seek out the Centre to participate with them in joint events. Invitations to attend and become a part of commemorative and educational functions are received with increasing frequency. And through Finest Hour, our annual conferences, lectures, symposia, publications and website, the Centre persistently stokes the fires of interest in a great man and a historic era. In other words, we are much more than a blank card in the rolodex of the worldwide Churchill community.

Regretfully, the Centre and its purposes still remain unknown among far too many. While substantial efforts during the past two years have somewhat reduced that universe, it is still far too large. Although we may say with increasing confidence that the Centre is reaching the end of the beginning in its quest for deserved recognition, we also know that it has some distance yet to go. 

 

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