Celebrating a British – American Hero: (Sir) Winston Churchill Day
Sir Winston Churchill become an Honorary Citizen of the United States on April 9th, 1963. The 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, bestowed the honor of granting citizenship to the World War II British leader and staunch American ally. Churchill was 89 when he received this honor; he died two years later. Winston Churchill Day commemorates this event.
Today, many would argue that Sir Winston Churchill was one of the 20th Century’s greatest leaders and most eloquent and revered statesmen of this time.
Start with a video introduction to Winston Churchill. Then read the text under the video screen and continue through all four pages. Follow up with Leader and Statesman from the The Churchill Centre. (Note the links in the bar along the left side of the page; peruse the other topics to find out more details about this great leader’s life and accomplishments).
The BBC posts a fabulous Web site devoted to Churchill. There are 19 video clips to watch; watch as many as time allows – all are primary source video footage from various events. Scroll down to the bottom and there are a collection of Events to click and further explore. Britannica is an excellent resource for information about Churchill; make sure to watch the video clips and view the photos.
Return to The Churchill Centre and watch the brief clip, Why Study Winston Churchill?
Their Finest Hour
The oratory of Winston Churchill serves as a model and bellwether for inspiring leaders in every generation since World War II. Start by listening to part of one of his most famous speeches, delivered towards the beginning of World War II, ‘Their Finest Hour‘. Read the ‘Context’ below and click the transcript link if you would like to read his exact words. Scroll back to the top of the page and click ‘The Few‘. Again read the context and note the transcript link.
Return to the Churchill Centre to watch video footage of four integral speeches (click the top four in the list). Jot down words and phrases that represent strength, honor, and determination from the speeches. Next listen to ‘The Sinews of Peace‘, often considered one of the most critical and significant speeches that Churchill gave. (Note the first 3:40 of the clip is an introduction; you may scroll beyond the introduction). Ask students to explain “sinews of peace” in their own words.
Next jump over to the MIT Mid Century Convocation Speech (scroll to the 5:30 mark). The speech is an hour long so plan to watch/listen in increments or when you have time. Go online and research further information about Churchill’s leadership activities.
In 1953, Winston Churchill received the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”. That same year, he became a Knight of the Garter in Great Britain, a prestigious and extremely high honor awarded by the British monarch.
For the news footage from 1963 when Sir Winston Churchill was made an honorary citizen of the United States, watch NBC News’ report (the actual speech begins at 1:30 in the clip). To this day, only there have only been six recipients of this esteemed honor.
Sir Winston Churchill will be a hero and leader that students will study for generations to come. As you read more in your research, share with your classmates any sites, speeches, and information that will contribute to a deeper appreciation and understanding of this international luminary and dignitary.
A&E Television Networks LLC, Biography
Knight of the Garter