135 Years: Raise a Glass

135 Years: Raise a Glass

1943Vsign“A few cur­mud­geons have flam­boy­ant­ly abstained from join­ing in this birth­day greet­ing; but they are so few that their action mere­ly empha­sis­es the fact that per­son­al respect and friend­ship habit­u­al­ly sur­vive and tran­scend polit­i­cal con­flict in the Moth­er of Par­lia­ments. It is par­tic­u­lar­ly appro­pri­ate that these all-par­ty trib­utes on his birth­day should be paid to one, the out­stand­ing fact of whose char­ac­ter and career is that he has nev­er been hap­pi­er than when lead­ing men of all par­ties and men of no par­ty in some great nation­al cause. He has nev­er ceased to com­bine zeal for reform with rev­er­ence for tradition.

“And as in home affairs so in world affairs he has with­in him the stuff of which fer­tile coop­er­a­tion is woven. The man to whom the Old World owes so much of its sur­vival him­self belongs by blood half to the New—he is, as has been neat­ly said, ‘half Amer­i­can and all English’—and this great cit­i­zen of an island realm has always had an unusu­al com­pre­hen­sion of Con­ti­nen­tal nations. Where he has loved them, he has marched loy­al­ly with them through dark hours. Where he has fought them, his hate has died with their surrender.

“Let us not for­get that a birth­day which has been made a nation­al and indeed an inter­na­tion­al event is in its essence a fam­i­ly event. For half a cen­tu­ry of sun­shine and storm he has had in Lady Churchill as today, a stim­u­lat­ing and sen­si­ble com­pan­ion, charm­ing the mag­ic case­ments of his life. Of all the birth­day presents, none can be more pre­cious than the sum of those years of unde­mand­ing and unde­vi­at­ing affection.

“He has some per­son­al dislikes—which of us has not? He is the per­son­al dis­like of some—which of us is not? But on this day sinks the fever of all the emo­tions save those evoked by the knowl­edge that our mighty com­pa­tri­ot in his long jour­ney has made him­self the archi­tect of imper­ish­able achieve­ments and the sym­bol of  inex­pugnable courage.”

The Dai­ly Tele­graph, Lon­don, Tues­day, 30 Novem­ber 1954

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