"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Saturday, January 24, 2015

50 Years Ago Today...

My esteem for Winston Churchill has bee noted already. Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of his death, precisely 70 years to the day (as he had earlier predicted) of his own father's death. His final years are narrated by the Cambridge historian David Reynolds in this documentary. And these clips give a few insights into his state funeral.

He was a complex man, of course, and there is perhaps as much to praise as to criticize in him, as many have recognized for decades now. But--if I may be forgiven for intruding an autobiographical note here--I would defend him for personal reasons insofar as his stout defense of Britain helped my grandparents and mother to survive and thus made my life possible.

From the beginning he saw the threat of Bolshevism that was to destroy scores of millions of Eastern Christians and was never shy about calling for a fight against that menace, not only during the immediate post-WWI years, but through the inter-war years and even as late as 1945 when he had plans drafted ("Operation Unthinkable") for the soon-to-be subdued Germans to come over to the side of the Western powers to resume the fight against the Soviet Union, which was already swallowing up Eastern Europe and reneging on its commitments with regards to Polish elections and much else beside.

There continues to be a flood of books written about Churchill, and I noted in the link above some of the ones I have found most enjoyable and edifying. I would also note the charming documentary put together by his granddaughter Celia Sandys, Chasing Churchill. It is a very winsome and revealing portrait, and I have re-watched it this day in the great man's honour. 

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