Why is it that when something is in our own backyard, we don’t appreciate it like we should? We love to travel. We go out of our way to see sites along the way. Yet, not more than 20 minutes down the road from our home, a great history opportunity was waiting for us in the little town of Fulton, Missouri.
So we grabbed number one grandson (number one because he was well, number one) and headed out for a few hours of site seeing in our own backyard.
The Churchill Memorial is located on the Campus of Westminster College, the site of Churchill’s great “Iron Curtain” speech – his “Sinews of Peace” address.
“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an "iron curtain" has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.”At first the speech was condemned, and Churchill was viewed as a war monger. But as we all know, there was a “cold war” and Churchill’s predictions came true.
Two of my dear ones waiting for me to join them.
The museum takes us from Churchill’s privileged youth to a simulation of war time bunkers. As we moved through the museum, recordings of the sounds of war, Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech, and people talking about Churchill were available to listen to. It was very well done.
Who needs computers to break codes? Not the English!
“I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks.” Winston Churchill
Churchill’s desk, with his drink of choice, whiskey and off to the side, his ever present cigar.
“Lady Nancy Astor: Winston, if you were my husband, I'd poison your tea.I'm pretty sure Churchill was a rootin' tootin' royal horses patoot.
Churchill: Nancy, if I were your husband, I'd drink it.”
A large draw is the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury. This church, dating from the 12th century, was brought to the states, stone by stone. It was sitting in London, left in ruins after WWII bombings. Our friend’s dad helped with the restoration and reconstruction of the church.
Did I mention that people in Missouri are friendly? Well, they are. A very nice employee of the museum happened to be walking through as we were heading up the circular stairs from the museum to the church, and told us this story.
She was hired to help administer the grant that was used to restore and reconstruct St. Mary’s. As she was working through the mountains of data, she realized there were no shipping cost. Absolutely none! So she approached the administrator who was largely responsible for the whole undertaking.
He asked her one simple question. “What do the British import to the United States?” She had to answer, “Nothing, why?” So he explained that he approached the barge operators who transported US goods to the UK and asked if they would be willing to bring their barges back to the US full for a change – and that is how he got the stones to the east coast. Free.
But he still needed to get the pieces of the church from the east coast to mid-Misssouri. So day after day, he sat watching the trains pass through mid-Missouri. And he counted. He counted empty flat bed trailers coming from the east coast. Day after day. And you guessed it. He contacted the owners of these train cars and asked if they would be willing to load the church pieces on those trailers and bring them to mid-Missouri. And they agreed to do it. For free!
What a fascinating story. I wish more people would think outside the box to find solutions. Our nation would be in a lot better position today. Throwing money at something isn’t always the answer. As a matter of fact, it is usually the wrong answer. And I’m way off track. Let’s go back to Fulton and the Churchill Memorial.
St. Mary’s of Aldermanbury
Two tourists looking down from the loft. Oh wait, that’s me and Travis! Hello down there!
“You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Winston Churchill
One year after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, President Ronald Reagan dedicated an 11-foot-high by 32-foot-long structure from 8 sections of the Berlin Wall, sculpted Churchill’s granddaughter, Edwina Sandys. It is the centerpiece of Westminster’s campus’ cold war memorial.
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill
In addition to being one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century, he also had a lot of quotes attributed to him. Many of them very funny. I will leave you with some quotes attributed to him:
- History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.
- In war it does not matter who is right, but who is left.
- The biggest argument against democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter.
- We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glowworm.
- If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.
- I am prepared to meet my maker; whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
- Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
- A nation trying to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to pull himself up by the handles.
- There are a terrible lot of lies going around the world, and the worst of it is half of them are true.
- The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative.
- A modest man, who has much to be modest about. (Referring to Clement Attlee)
- A sheep in sheep’s clothing. (Referring to Ramsay MacDonald)
- He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. (Referring to Sir Stafford Cripps)
- He is the man who brought pederasty into disrepute. (Referring to Tom Driberg)
- He looks like a female llama who has been surprised in the bath. (Referring to Charles De Gaulle)
- If you wanted nothing done at all, Balfour was the man for the job. (Referring to Arthur Balfour)
- Lady Nancy Astor: Winston, if I were your wife, I’d poison your tea.
Churchill: Nancy, if I were your husband, I’d drink it
- Bessie Braddock: Sir, you are drunk.
Churchill: And you, madam, are ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober.
- Young man (after seeing Churchill leave the bathroom without washing his hands): At Eton they taught us to wash our hands after using the toilet.
Churchill: At Harrow they taught us not to piss on our hands.
- Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
Woman: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…
Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
Woman: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.