Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at the Winston Churchill Bust Dedication Ceremony honoring Sir Winston Churchill’s leadership during one of the most crucial times in world history. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
“Good morning. Some six decades after the last time Sir Winston Churchill addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress, it is a privilege to have Sir Winston Churchill’s voice once again ringing through the halls of the Capitol. This was the first time we heard today – the first time he addressed Congress.
“President Kennedy once said that in the dark days and darker nights of the Second World War, when the armies of freedom were being fought back on every front, Churchill ‘mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.’ That steadfast voice, rumbling with unending determination, served as the great beacon of hope for the free peoples of the world. Sir Winston Churchill’s resolve kept the hope of Allied victory alive. His image was the very face of democracy, defiant and undefeated at the crucial hour.
“And so, today, it is our great honor to install his commanding gaze as we celebrate in Statuary Hall. Anyone who visits the Members’ lobby of the House of Commons sees the great statue of Churchill, and people rub his foot – shoe – for good luck. I love the story about Sir Winston when he was Member and Prime Minister – that statute wasn’t there then, but he was outside the House of Commons, among the statutes, writing some notes and a colleague came up to ask him a question, and he said: ‘Not now, I’m just preparing my spontaneous remarks.’
“I always loved that comment, whether it happened or not. A thrill like Yogi Berra, we attribute every wonderful saying to Sir Winston because his words were ever timely. I’m very thrilled, and it’s quite emotional to hear the voice of Sir Winston for many of us here today, because I have a picture in my office I have had for 26 years both in my leadership office – wherever that may be – and in my personal office of Sir Winston making that speech. He’s addressing the Joint Meeting of Congress and my father is in that picture as a Member of Congress at the time.
“And I mentioned that because anyone who sees the picture when they come through my offices always talks about how much they love, respect, and admire Sir Winston Churchill. So to the family, please know that many more people would be here but for geography and for the capacity of the venue. But those who are here represent millions of Americans who respect Sir Winston Churchill enormously.
“Again, his words were ever so timely. Just as the Speaker said, 19 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the day after Christmas, he was here, delivering a dose of his legendary resolve to the Congress of a country newly at war.
“Again, and he would address Congress a total of three times. As the Speaker mentioned, and as we all know, he was born to an American mother. We all take great pride in that. Churchill joked – as we heard – that in another world, he might have come here that day as a Member of Congress. His leadership truly spanned the Atlantic. His call to action stirred the American heart as surely as it steeled the resolve of the British. He inspired our admiration as surely it did the British. He is a hero in our nation, as well as in his own.
“In a comment he made about the British, but I think it really mirrors what he must’ve thought about America and his American relatives, he said, speaking of the British but thinking of America: ‘We have not journeyed across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies because we are made of sugar candy!’
“Churchill and President Roosevelt guided the world through some of the grimmest years of the last century. They shared a vision for what needed to be done, and with their leadership and their great command of our shared language, they gave their countries the courage to do it.
“Roosevelt and Churchill’s partnership was forged in the fire of World War – and theirs is truly one of the great friendships between leaders in the whole history of the world. Certainly, history would look very different without the two of them.
“Sir Winston Churchill stands as one of the titans of democracy – a giant whose courage serves as an example across the generations and through the ages. Churchill rightly belongs to the world he helped save from tyranny. He will always hold a place in the American memory. Now, he will hold a special place in the Capitol of the United States.