Saturday, April 10, 2010

In our own backyard

 
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.
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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.
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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.

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Who needs computers to break codes?  Not the English!
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“I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks.” Winston Churchill
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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.
Churchill: Nancy, if I were your husband, I'd drink it.”
I'm pretty sure Churchill was a rootin' tootin' royal horses patoot.

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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.

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St. Mary’s of Aldermanbury
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View of the choir loft from below
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Two tourists looking down from the loft.  Oh wait, that’s me and Travis!  Hello down there!

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“You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.”  Winston Churchill 

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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.
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“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill
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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.

8 comments:

AliceKay said...

I loved this post. Your photos are absolutely beautiful....all of them. What an amazing place to visit. Winston Churchill seemed to have the last word a lot of the time. LOL

What a great bit of history you all shared. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Queenie Jeannie said...

Great post!! He really sounds like a character, lol!

The church is so lovely too!!!!

Queenie Jeannie said...

Oh! And as for packing, the Army contracts that out. I will have to ship some things to Alex though as they won't move my ink pads, etc. Stupid but rules are rules.

junyah said...

That was a fabulous post, i have always admire Chuchill, he was one of the greatest minds of the times. He never lost his composure during the German bombings to England and he stood up for freedom. That church is something else ,imagine taking that all apart and moving it and then putting it back together and it coming out so Beautifully.Thank you for this post that was a good lesson for the Grandson.Hugs u..

Intense Guy said...

Beautiful pictures - and great looking tourist!

Churchill was a remarkable and very complicated man. It would be easy to say he was spoiled and eccentric but that was only a small part of him.

Of all the war (WWII) leaders, I think Churchill was the most inspirational, intelligent and the most foresighted. FDR was a politician's politican (and about as slick as teflon).

I was reading about Chiang Kai-shek (the Chinese Nationalist leader) last week. He was like Churchill, a complicated man - supported the Flying Tigers, battled the Japanese and evetually lost to Mao and the Communist, something Churchill foresaw years earlier.

I find it odd that a "backwater" (no offense meant) like Fulton would end up with an ancient English church and some of the Berlin Wall. Isn't it amazing what people with a little vision, dedication, and some hard work can do?

Lynn said...

I loved this post, what a wonderful little history lesson and I just loved the pictures thanks so much for sharing. It makes me try and think what is in my backyard? hmmmmm

Toriz said...

Great post! :)

mo-funwife said...

Hi Deanna! I just found you on facebook and when I looked up your blog I saw all all of these beautiful photos of the National Churchill Museum. We have a bed and breakfast, Loganberry Inn, a half a block from that museum! Let me know the next time you are up this way, we'll have tea.
Cathy