WASHINGTON - The late Winston Churchill, who as prime minister led Great Britain through World War II, has been honored with a new statue at the U.S. Capitol. The recent event celebrated Churchill’s friendship with the United States.
The ceremony dedicating the new statue included a performance by The Who’s Roger Daltrey. He sang Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” - chosen because he felt it captured the enduring relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Capitol ceremony featured leaders of the House and Senate coming together to honor a man who received not only honorary U.S. citizenship, but also the only honorary U.S. passport ever awarded. High-ranking Republicans and Democrats took turns speaking about Churchill, who was born to an American mother and had ancestors who fought for America in the Revolutionary War. The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, played clips from the prime minister’s 1941 speech to the U.S. Congress before praising Churchill.
“Winston Spencer Churchill was the best friend the United States ever had,” Boehner said.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called Churchill a “titan of democracy.”
“A giant whose courage serves as an example across the generations and throughout the ages," she said. "Churchill rightly belongs to the world he helped save from tyranny. He will always hold a place in American memory. Now he will hold a special place in the Capitol of the United States.”
The new bronze can be found in Statuary Hall, off the Capitol Rotunda. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Churchill will “remain forever an inspiration to those in the Capitol and across the continents.”
“We are sometimes all of us as we know too well separated by oceans, and we are sometimes separated by political party or by ideology," he said. "But this bust will remind us of the bridges that we must build to span the gaps so that the work of democracy can continue.”
The bronze bust was donated by the Churchill Centre in Chicago and is close to a meter-and-a-half-tall. At first glance, Sir Winston appears to be scowling, though he could just be lost in deep thought. There were a lot of smiles at the dedication ceremony, with Kerry and Boehner both spotted nodding to the beat as Roger Daltrey performed.