An Ode to the Preternatural Churchill

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”.

Winston Churchill


pre·ter·nat·u·ral

ˌprēdərˈnaCH(ə)rəl/
adjective

                 1. beyond what is normal or natural.


Guess what November 30th (tomorrow) is?! It’s the birth date of the great Winston Churchill, born November 30th, 1874 in Woodstock, UK.

For some reason around 8 or 9 years ago, I chose this man to be my hero. He was little more than a name to me after spending a year living in Scotland and learning about the Prime Ministers, and then studying the two World Wars in school.

 I can only assume that at the time I was attracted to the idea of having a hero, and I took a fancy to the regal name “Winston Churchill” and the fact that not many people know much about him. I like to be different, it’s one of my favorite things in life.

It is a common practice to learn about a hero and his or her moral standings and then adopt him or her as a life hero, not the other way around. Again, I like to be different.

Since choosing Winston Churchill, I have read a good amount of his biographies, personal accounts, diary entries, speeches, letters to Clementine, documentaries, and blog posts. And let me tell you…I could not have chosen a better hero.

 This man inspires me beyond all imagination.

When people ask me why I love Winston Churchill so much–why my phone background is Winston, why I have a massive poster of Winston Churchill front and center in my room, why his name finds a way in every meaningful conversation I ever have, why he is the subject of my phone case, why I blush when people bring him up–I get so flustered because it’s such a hard question to answer these days. I want to reply:

How many hours do you have?

I wanted him to be the feature of my post for this Sunday first because his birthday is tomorrow and this is me “pre-gaming” for the great day, and also because he has added so much to the quality of my life that I want others to be inspired by him as well.

Why do I love and respect and revere Winston?

1. Winston Churchill was a hard worker.

Winston was born into the wealthy Duke of Marlbourough family to Lord Randolph and Lady Jennie Jerome Churchill. His father, Randolph, was a politician, and his mother was the daughter of an American millionaire. Although he could be considered by some as “lucky” to have such a “stellar family”,

Winston was far from fortunate in childhood. He was sent to a boarding school early on, and did not have a good relationship with either his father or his mother, or really a relationship at all. He repeatedly wrote to his mother, imploring her to come visit him in school. She never reciprocated.  His mother. Bless his heart.

Winston was independent and rebellious growing up. More accurately, he was exceedingly stubborn. If he couldn’t see the benefit in doing something, he wouldn’t do it.  School was a bit rough for him with this attitude, made even more difficult by his childhood speech impediment.

Winston learned early that no one was going to come and save him or protect him from the cruelty of humanity; he learned how to stick up for his beliefs despite the consequences, and he learned that if he wanted to be someone than he would have to work hard. So he did.

One of his most notable accreditations is his reputation as being one of the greatest orators of all time. He wrote all of his own beautiful crafted speeches, yielding quotes from “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life” to “to improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often”. He did this by putting in an extraordinary amount of practice working through his speech impediment.

2. Winston Churchill was adventurous.

He had a great interest in the wonders of the world, and traveled often by joining the British military. He participated in a number of fascinating military adventures which lead to his career in newspaper reporting, launching his success as a writer.

He never liked vacationing, which he considered to be “a pointless waste of time”; instead he preferred exploring, being productive in travel and not wasting time deciding where to go next. He wanted to go places, not to just visit them.

3. Winston Churchill never gave up.

His love for his country caused him to arrange meetings at all hours of the night and morning, to be found constantly working and composing great speeches, and to even write a 6-volume history of Britain.

This lead to him winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.  Even though he was immensly successful as a Prime Minister during the second World War –resulting in allied victory–, Winston lost the election for Prime Minister in 1945 because Britain needed a change from a wartime minister.

But did this failure result in Churchill giving up? Absolutely not. He stayed on as the leader of the opposition party and became Prime Minister again in 1950.

4. Winston Churchill was the same person all the time.

This is a quality that truly is lacking in contemporary society. If you are able to meet two people in your entire lifetime that you can genuinely describe as “the same person all the time”, then you, my friend, can count yourself lucky.

There are all kinds of excuses for why it isn’t beneficial to be the same person all the time; one wants to be respectful around the elderly, seemingly powerful around employees, or perceivably intelligent around professors.

We smile like we pretend we always smile, we use big words to which we do not know the definition, we hold ourselves erect in a postures we all know aren’t present when watching Netflix.

What would happen if we were the same people all the time? It would take a lot of self-confidence, that’s for sure. And humility. Pride can easily eat away at friendships if one is not careful.

Winston was the same person all the time. He possessed enormous levels of self-confidence and self-assurance. He wasn’t afraid to show the qualities that people choose to attack.

He was very interested in painting, fine spirits, smoking, gambling, and lounging around Downing Street (the Prime Minister headquarters) in the half-nude and he wasn’t interested in hiding any of these quirks.

Indeed, when visiting President Roosevelt in America, Winston actually flashed the President claiming that “he had nothing to hide”.

After World War 1, when the people of Britain wanted nothing but the absence of more war, Winston Churchill held his ground and urged his people to not appease Hitler. Even though it turned public opinion against him, he held true to his belief that Britain should not accept peace with the dictator.

After World War 2, when the people of the world wanted nothing but the absence of war, Winston Churchill held his ground and urged his people not to appease Stalin, not to accept communism to spread.

He was the one who coined the term “The Iron Curtain” and spent his post-Prime Minister days enlightening the people of the world against the horrors of communism.

We owe Winston Churchill potentially the success of World War 2.

If Winston Churchill had not been Prime Minister during World War 2, Halifax would have been and the Liberal Party of Britain would have reigned in Parliament. Halifax, like Neville Chamberlain, was very very much for appeasing Hitler. Most likely, without Churchill’s voice in Parliament, Britain would have given in to Hitler’s demand; they would have lost control of the powerful navy and a sizable chunk of British forces.

America would not have been drawn into the war until much later, when Hitler eventually moved to attack America, and probably would have been defeated by a British-German alliance of forces.


There are many, many other things I could say on the character of Winston Churchill and what makes me respect him as a human. But for the sake of time, I will end with this quote from his speech to the House of Commons on June 18, 1940, one month after he became Prime Minister the first time.
“What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.'”

Peace and Blessings, and a happy birthday, Winston Churchill.

Josie

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