JFK MADE WINSTON CHURCHILL AN HONORARY AMERICAN CITIZEN 50 YEARS AGO TODAY
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Winston Spencer Churchill* of the United Kingdom became an honorary citizen of the United States of America 50 years ago today, April 9, 1963.
Statue of Winston Churchill
Parliament Square, London
Photo by Ziko (2004)
Although he could not be present for the ceremony, Mr. Churchill's son, Randolph, accepted the decree from President John F. Kennedy in his father's behalf.
The ceremony awarding Churchill the honorary American citizenship was held in the Flower Garden at the White House beginning at 3 p.m. Washington time.
The ceremony was broadcast on television in the United States & to Europe via communications satellite where it was viewed by Sir Winston & Lady Churchill in their home in London.
In his remarks upon signing the proclamation, JFK said that Sir Winston would be joining the Marquis de Lafayette as an honorary American citizen.
The President continued...
"Whenever & wherever tyranny threatened, (Winston Churchill) has always championed liberty. Facing firmly toward the future, he has never forgotten the past. Serving 6 monarchs of his native Great Britain, he has served all men's freedom & dignity.
In the dark days & darker nights when England stood alone...he mobilized the English language & sent it into battle. The incandescent quality of his words illuminated the courage of his countrymen."
JFK signed & read the proclamation, part of which follows...
"WHEREAS Sir Winston Churchill, a son of American though a subject of Britain, has been throughout his life a firm & steadfast friend of the American people & the American nation...
WHEREAS his life has shown that no adversary can overcome, & no fear can deter, free men in the defense of their freedom...
I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, under the authority of...Congress, do hereby declare Sir Winston Churchill an honorary citizen of the United States of America."
Then reading from the text of a letter written by his father, Randolph Churchill thanked the people of the United States for the, in his father's words, "unique distinction which will always be proudly remembered by my descendants."
*Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was born in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, UK & graduated from the Royal Military College. He was commissioned in the 4th Queen's Own Hussars in 1895. He was elected to Parliament in 1900, served as Chancellor of Exchequer (1924-1929) & Prime Minister (1940-1955).
"Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, January 1 to November 22, 1963," United States Government Printing Office, Washington, 1964.
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