There was a time, in a long-ago and innocent age, when national leaders would walk about unaccompanied by security. Sometimes, they would even walk alone.
Four such episodes came to mind last week which exemplify this vanished era. Questions arrived from colleagues about Churchill: his encounters with Canadian soldiers and his North Carolina connections. Then The New York Times published a retrospective on Woodrow Wilson, during the 1918 Paris Peace Conference. This was remindful of a fourth episode, involving Harry Truman. The sadness is that none of these could have happened in, the last fifty years. Maybe longer.
Walk in Paris: Woodrow Wilson, 1918
The Municipal Council of Paris gave President Wilson the keys to the City, but they neglected to present him with what is far more essential, a good map book, with which to find his way about the city’s intricate streets.…
A friend who is delivering a Churchill speech in D.C. asked for some examples of Churchilian humor involving Washington and U.S. Presidents.
Everyone enjoys Churchill’s famous crack in his first (1941) speech to Congress:
“If my father had been American, and my mother British, instead of the other way round, I might have got here on my own!” That brought down the house.
When in the U.S., Churchill liked to emphasize his American roots. Broadcasting to America six months earlier, he avowed something he always believed:
The great Burke has truly said, “People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors,” and I feel it most agreeable to recall to you that the Jeromes were rooted for many generations in American soil, and fought in Washington’s armies for the independence of the American Colonies and the foundation of the United States.…