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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Winston Churchill

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In this week in which we observe the 70th anniversary of D-Day it is appropriate to recall these words of the greatest statesman of the last century, Winston Churchill.  He spoke these words in 1949 at MIT and I think they speak directly to our time:

Our inheritance of well-founded slowly conceived codes of honour, morals and manners, the passionate convictions which so many hundreds of millions share together of the principles of freedom and justice, are far more precious to us than anything which scientific discoveries could bestow. Those whose minds are attracted or compelled to rigid and symmetrical systems of government should remember that logic, like science, must be the servant and not the master of man. Human beings and human societies are not structures that are built or machines that are forged. They are plants that grow and must be tended as such. Life is a test and this world a place of trial. Always the problems or it may be the same problem will be presented to every generation in different forms. The problems of victory may be even more baffling than those of defeat. However much the conditions change, the supreme question is how we live and grow and bloom and die, and how far each life conforms to standards which are not wholly related to space or time. 

 

 Here I speak not only to those who enjoy the blessings and consolation of revealed religion but also to those who face the mysteries of human destiny alone. The flame of Christian ethics is still our highest guide. To guard and cherish it is our first interest, both spiritually and materially. The fulfilment of Spiritual duty in our daily life is vital to our survival. Only by bringing it into perfect application can we hope to solve for ourselves the problems of this world and not of this world alone.

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Let us then move forward together in discharge of our mission and our duty, fearing God and nothing else.

Go here to view a video of the speech.

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

6 Comments

  1. I just read the speech and its context was important so as to comprehend the gravity of those times…..and these times. Churchill’s words are clarifying and timeless.

  2. Churchill was a master of the use of the English language. Churchill had an uncanny knack for clarifying almost anything and putting it in a way that could not be contested.

    It was in 1938 during a meeting with von Ribbentrop that he warned the Nazi foreign minister that England would not be defeated in the event of a war against Germany.

    I only remember this from some other source that I can’t remember, but I read that Eleanor Roosevelt used to be driven crazy by Churchill’s White House visits. Churchill used to stay up late, smoking cigars and drinking brandy and telling stories. Mrs. Roosevelt encountered Churchill after he stepped out of the shower. “Mrs. Roosevelt, please be advised that Great Britain has nothing to hide in its relationship to the United States” (I paraphrase) was Churchill’s response.

    My favorite quote – a woman who was not a fan of Churchill told him, “Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison.” Churchill’s response was “Madam, if I were your husband, I would drink it.”

    Apparently the Prime Minister of Great Britain took a leak in the Rhine River after the Allies gained possession of it.

  3. To Churchill’s credit, he repudiated the burdensome excesses of the Treaty of Versailles and recognized that a valuable opportunity to crush Soviet Bolshevism had been lost when the terms of surrender were drawn for WWI (see, min. 30.26).
    .
    These two pivotal errors cost millions of lives in the ensuing decades. His advocacy for the peace-keeping aspirations of the League of Nations, despite its subsequent failure, gave rise to the United Nations. The success of which is still to be determined.

  4. Penguins Fan wrote, “a woman who was not a fan of Churchill…”
    The woman was Lady Nancy Astor, (née Langhorne of Danville, Virginia), the first woman MP to take her seat in the House of Commons in 1919, as member for Plymouth Sutton. The first woman elected had been Constance Countess Markievicz, elected for Dublin St Patricks. Owing to the abstentionist policy of Sinn Féin, she did not take her seat.
    Astor was a notable supporter of the Temperance Movement and, when Churchill once asked her what disguise he should wear to a masquerade ball, she asked, “Why don’t you come sober?”

  5. While a great man, Churchill was not above blather and bathos when it came to
    gassing over his own role, in bringing about the sorry pass that the Europeans found themselves in, during that period. There was a book published by the Russians that detailed the back and forth telegrams between Churchill and Stalin. Ever the effusive drunk, Churchill with no thought at all about the cost of telegrams goes on and on about troop movements and historic events and the deathless bravery of the Soviets, while Stalin was laconic to the point of rudeness. Those who were underwhelmed by Churchill, the one time anti-Bolshevik had their reasons.

  6. “Those who were underwhelmed by Churchill, the one time anti-Bolshevik had their reasons.”

    Incorrect reasons. Churchill had zero illusions about Stalin as he demonstrated time and again by his actions as the War went on. If anyone had illusions about Stalin it was FDR who, at least until his last months in ’45, thought that he could charm Stalin into acting like a civilized leader through personal diplomacy.

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