The Churchill exhibition at Morgan Library and Museum in New York does not disappoint. I went over there this morning and saw and heard everything they have on display. It is a small exhibit but packs a punch. You leave wishing for more, always the sign of a great party and a great strategy for introducing kids to museums (even some older folks!).
Best of all is the small theatre style area where you can sit and view on triplex screens the language of Churchill's speeches as he speaks them, accompanied by photos from the incidents he's talking about. It's moving, inspiring, thrilling...all that you expect from great oratory.
It struck me in some of the radio speeches how conversational Churchill was in both his remarks and their delivery. He knew he was being broadcast to people where they live and it felt he was right there with his audience as they sat around the radios in their "cottage homes" as he refers to them.
You can't help but be struck with the truly superb command of the English language he employs. Yet he doesn't speak down to his audience. He assumes they will rise to the occasion of his oratory and we know, of course, they did.
I didn't know that President Kennedy made Winston Churchill an honorary citizen of the United States. The theatre includes Kennedy's words as he spoke them, lauding Churchill as he made the pronouncement in 1963. And the exhibit includes his American passport with the words "Sir Winston Churchill" embossed on the cover.
It took Churchill's kind of talk to get the English speaking nations to rally to the cause of World War II. He was right in predicting their behavior during the Nazi onslaught of Britain would later be seen as their finest hour.
That wouldn't have happened from texting, no matter how many people got crowd sourced into the discussion.
Don't you yearn for someone with that kind of conviction, that willingness to take risky positions against the strongly held opinion of others (think Churchill as he decried the appeasement position of so many English leaders when Hitler first came into power), that love of language and the courage to articulate what we all can take to our hearts and minds as the call to action needed right now?