US leaders hailed the American-British alliance as “one of history’s true love stories” as they unveiled a statue of Winston Churchill inside the Capitol building
By Raf Sanchez, Washington 5:11PM GMT 30 Oct 2013
“Winston Spencer Churchill was the best friend the United States ever had,” said John Boenher, the speaker of the House, at the commemoration ceremony.
Mr Boehner was joined inside the Capitol, a building British forces tried to burn down in 1814, by leaders of both parties as they paid tribute to the former prime minister.
Both Republicans and Democrats noted that Churchill’s mother was an American and that he had a deep admiration for the country he called “the Great Republic”.
But they admitted that the only person ever granted an honourary US passport also had some reservations about America, complaining that the newspapers were too fat and the toilet roll too thin.
“This man was an original in every respect,” said John Kerry, the US secretary of state, telling how Churchill once walked around naked in front of Franklin Roosevelt.
“We are sometimes all of us separated by oceans and we are separated by political party or by ideology 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,” Mr Kerry said.
The ceremony was attended by Nicholas Soames, Churchill’s grandson who is also a conservative MP, who called it a “wonderful, resonant and fitting tribute”.
Nicholas Soames delivers remarks during the ceremony (MICHAELREYNOLDS/EPA)
The unveiling went significantly more smoothly than the last time Washington focused on a bust of the wartime prime minister.
When Barack Obama was sworn in as president, the White House returned a bust of Churchill to the British embassy, which had loaned it to George W Bush.
Mr Obama’s aides angrily denied they had returned the bust to the embassy or that the move was intended to show “antipathy towards the British”.
But days later they were forced to backtrack, admitting the bust had in fact been sent back and that they had mistaken it for a similar piece that has been in the White House since the 1960s.
The new bust will be displayed inside Congress’s statuary hall alongside former political leaders and American icons like Rosa Parks, the black woman who famously refused to move to the back of an Alabama bus.
Mr Boehner said he hoped members of Congress would come to it if they were “looking for counsel of just hoping to feel a little braver”.
The statue was given to Congress by the Winston Churchill Centre and is a casting of an original piece by Oscar Nemon, who produced a number of Churchill statues.
Only two other copies are in existence: one in the Cabinet War Rooms in London and another in the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow.
A statue of Abraham Lincoln has stood in front of Parliament since 1920. Source
I haven’t heard what the spiteful, narcissist, unqualified for the presidential office had to say about it thereagain who cares. I remember thinking at the time was the height of bad manners let alone anything else. He needs a good slap in the mouth. 🙂