Words from Winston Churchill
on a Troubled Christmas Eve
Winston Churchill was in the United States in December 1941,
as World War II was unfolding; on Christmas Eve,
he delivered this speech to the American people:
"I spend this anniversary and festival far from my country,
far from my family, and yet I cannot truthfully say that
I feel far from home. Whether it be the ties of blood
on my mother's side, or the friendships I
have developed here over many years of active life,
or the commanding sentiment of comradeship
in the common cause of great peoples
who speak the same language, who kneel at the
same altars and, to a very large extent, pursue
the same ideals; I cannot feel myself a stranger
here in the center and at the summit of the United States.
I feel a sense of unity and fraternal association which,
added to the kindliness of your welcome, convinces me
that I have a right to sit at your fireside and
share your Christmas joys.
Fellow workers, fellow soldiers in the cause,
this is a strange Christmas Eve. Almost the
whole world is locked in deadly struggle. Armed
with the most terrible weapons which science can
devise, the nations advance upon each other.
Ill would it be for us this Christmastide if we were not
sure that no greed for the lands or wealth of any other
people, no vulgar ambitions, no morbid lust for material
gain at the expense of others had led us to the field.
Ill would it be for us if that were so. Here, in
the midst of war, raging and roaring over all the lands and seas,
sweeping nearer to our hearths and homes; here, amid
all these tumults, we have tonight the peace of the spirit
in each cottage home and in every generous
heart. Therefore we may cast aside, for this night at least,
the cares and dangers which beset us and make for the
children an evening of happiness in a world of storm.
Here then, for one night only, each home throughout the
English-speaking world should be a brightly lighted
island of happiness and peace.
Let the children have their night of fun and laughter, let the gifts of
Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full
in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern tasks
and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that by
our sacrifice and daring these same children shall not be
robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a
free and decent world.
And so, in God's mercy, a happy Christmas to you all."