Nicholas Soames

Address at the Winston Churchill Bust Dedication Ceremony

delivered 30 October 2013, Washington, D.C.

nicholassoameschurchillbust

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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Mr. Speaker, Secretary Kerry, Leader Pelosi, Leader Reed, Leader MaConnell, and distinguished Members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen:

My family and I thank you most warmly for the very great honor that you have accorded the memory of my grandfather in accepting the donation from The Churchill Centre of this magnificent bust of Sir Winston, to be permanently displayed here in the United States Capitol. And on behalf of all of us, Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the wonderful tribute that you all paid to Churchill's memory, his very vivid memory.

As you know, my grandfather visited Washington often during his long career, though perhaps most notably as a guest of President Franklin Roosevelt during the Second World War. On December the 26th, 1941, just days after the appalling atrocity at Pearl Harbor, he came across the Atlantic and was invited to address a joint session of Congress just yards away from where this moving ceremony is being held today. On that occasion, as we've been reminded, he famously joked that if his father had been an American and his mother British, instead of the other way round, he might indeed have got here on his own.

Well now, Mr. Speaker, he is here in his own right, not as a guest, but [as] a member of an illustrious pantheon here in this magnificent Hall. It is a wonderful, resonant, and fitting tribute -- and one which would have caused him great pride, and great pleasure. Born to an American mother, he cherished his relationship with America and the American peoples, often describing himself as "an English-Speaking union."

There is no doubt that the United States adopted him. In 1963, [he was] awarded honorary United States citizenship, the first by an Act of Congress, and wrote to President Kennedy:

I contemplate with high satisfaction the constant factor of the interwoven and upward progress of our peoples. Our comradeship and our brotherhood in war were unexampled. We stood together and because of that the free world now stands.

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My grandfather spoke to Congress on three occasions, but in 1941 -- as you can see and as we've already heard -- he concluded his remarks here with this wonderful statement -- that:

I avow my hope and faith, sure and inviolate, that in the days to come the British and American peoples will, for their own safety and for the good of all, walk together side by side in majesty, in justice, and in peace.

 

Mr. Speaker, this bust is a symbol that his hope is still being realized, for the benefit of this and for future generations, and his memory remains a beacon for free men and free women everywhere.

Thank you, very much.


See Also: The Churchill Centre

Audio and Video Source: http://www.dvidshub.net

Images #1 and #3 Source: http://www.speaker.gov

Image of Proclamation Source: Photo by Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

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