Tag: Battle Hymn of the Republic

Churchill’s Funeral, 50 Years On

Churchill’s Funeral, 50 Years On

His words still call to us across the years.

St. Paul’s Cathe­dral, 30 Jan­u­ary 1965….

Any­one read­ing this knows where they were on 9/11/01. A dimin­ish­ing num­ber remem­ber where they were on 1/30/65—the day we said farewell to Win­ston Churchill.

For me it was a life-chang­ing expe­ri­ence. Sud­den­ly, unfor­get­tably, on my flick­er­ing black and white TV screen in Stat­en Island, N.Y., the huge void of England’s grand­est cathe­dral filled with The Bat­tle Hymn of the Repub­lic. He was, we were remind­ed, half-Amer­i­can, an hon­orary cit­i­zen by Act of Con­gress.

That day was the start of my 50-year career in search of Churchill—of what his great­est biog­ra­ph­er, Sir Mar­tin Gilbert, describes as “labour­ing in the vine­yard.”

After the funer­al I picked up The Gath­er­ing Storm, the first vol­ume of his World War II mem­oirs, and was snared by what Robert Pilpel called his “roast beef and pewter phras­es.” It’s biased, as Churchill admitted—“This is not his­to­ry; this is my case.” But it is ordered so as to put you at his side for the “great cli­mac­ter­ics” that made us what we are today.…

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