SO NOW Winston Churchill belongs to the ages, his long course
finished, his last victory won. After all the ups and downs of fame
and fortune which marked his career of phenomenal service to his
Sovereign, his country and the world, his proud place in history is
as secure as that of any man in Britain's annals. The unique place
which he held in the hearts of men has been proved by the flood of
eloquent tributes (among which the broadcast by the Prime Minister
was outstanding) which have poured forth in the Press and on the
air this week. . .
No one now living can remember anything quite like the national
honours paid to this extraordinary man on his death. But then there
has been no one quite like him for longer than anyone can remember.
Behind all the pomp and circumstance of this week's ceremonies lie
the emotions of which they are the outward symbol. There is sheer
gratitude for all that Winston Churchill did in the dark days when
Britain once again, under his inspiration, saved herself by her
exertions and the world by her example. There is deep admiration
for his magnanimity of character, for his ability to pluck victory
out of the heart of defeat, for the way in which he treated the two
impostors, personal triumph and disaster, as the same. Above all
there is the intuitive feeling that, in a sense shared only by the
greatest Sovereigns, here was a man who had become identified with
his country. There were times when Churchill not only spoke for
Britain. He was Britain.
The Church can lay no special claim to him. But the prophets of
old would have seen nothing at all strange in the belief that he
was an instrument in the hand of the Living God for the purposes of
his providence, and that God is to be praised for all that Winston
Churchill was inspired to do and say and write in the cause of
freedom, righteousness and peace.
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