Finest Hour 129, Winter 2005-06
President’s Letter – @ The Centre
Another year, another term, Looking back on the past thirty-six months, it is impossible not to see an upward trend, not only in worldwide interest in Sir Winston, but in all the organizations which serve his memory.
Three plus years at the Churchill Centre’s helm, and having recently been senten—, er elected, to another two-year term as President, provides a convenient opportunity to share with you some perspective on Churchill, The Churchill Centre and its development.
Three years ago I expressed my concern that interest and enthusiasm in and for Churchill, his thought and ideas had plateaued; and that, unless Churchill Studies received some new and substantial impetus, a decline was inevitable. While there may indeed be a decline sometime in the future, I have seen no evidence of it. To be sure, the Library of Congress Exhibit here in the United States, the new Churchill Museum in London, and the steady flow of new books on Churchill and Churchill-related themes have contributed hugely to providing this necessary impetus. But in a real sense the various institutions and organizations, including ours, devoted to Churchill scholarship and the perpetuation of his legacy, have done their share as well. And from where I sit, I see them continuing to expand their programs and commitment “to keep the memory green and the record accurate.”
Another perspective I offer you is the magnificent contribution made by the Churchill family to whatever success the Centre may claim.
I have written and spoken on many, many occasions of the role Lady Soames has played in the Centre’s development—as Patron, as confidant, as highly active conference participant, as adviser, as constructive critic and perhaps, most importantly, as a warmly cherished friend.
And we should clearly recognize that Winston Churchill and Celia Sandys have made substantial and truly meaningful contributions to the Centre as well. Time and again we have asked Winston to address various Centre functions, to render quiet but vital assistance in fund raising efforts, and to lend a helping hand in touchy personal relationships. He has been a strong and persuasive advocate for the Centre. At our request, Celia has graciously and elegantly represented the Churchill family at numerous Centre events; and has promoted the Centre in many of her books and during her frequent public appearances. She, too, has helped us satisfactorily to resolve certain rather dicey matters. Both have rarely turned down any request, and then only reluctantly and for extraordinary reasons. We are deeply grateful to them both.
No doubt with the passage of a few additional years other perspectives will emerge. But until they do, my focus and that of our Board of Governors will be squarely and exclusively on the exciting and event-filled months ahead.