Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014
My family and I thank you most warmly for the great honour that you have accorded the memory of my grandfather in accepting the donation from The Churchill Centre of this magnificent bust of Sir Winston, to be permanently displayed in the United States Capitol.
My grandfather visited Washington often during his long career, perhaps most notably as a guest of President Franklin Roosevelt during the war. On 26 December 1941, nineteen days after the atrocity at Pearl Harbor, he addressed a Joint Session of Congress just yards away, famously joking that if his father had been an American and his mother British, instead of the other way round, he might have got here on his own.
Now he is here in his own right—not as a guest, but as a member of an illustrious pantheon in Statuary Hall. It is a wonderful and fitting tribute and one which would have given him the greatest pleasure. Born to an American mother, he cherished above all his relationship with America and the American people, often describing himself as “an English-Speaking union.”
There is no doubt that America adopted him. In 1963 when he was awarded honorary United States citizenship he wrote to President Kennedy, “I contemplate with high satisfaction the constant factor of the interwoven and upward progress of our peoples. Our comradeship and our brotherhood in war were unexampled. We stood together and because of that the free world now stands.”
My grandfather spoke to Congress on three occasions, but in 1941 he concluded his remarks saying: “I avow my hope and faith, sure and inviolate, that in the days to come the British and American peoples will, for their own safety and for the good of all, walk together side by side in majesty, in justice and in peace.”
This bust is a symbol that his hopes are still being realised for the benefit of this and future generations, and his memory thus remains a beacon for free men and women everywhere.