Congressional Ceremony Headlined by Roger Daltrey
All four congressional leaders spoke of their admiration for Sir Winston and an audio excerpt was played from Churchill’s first address to the United States Congress, which took place on the day aftr Christmas, 1941. Nancy Pelosi noted how proud she was of the fact that her father was in the audience that day. Secretary Kerry took special note of Churchill’s warm and incisive humor. All of those who spoke and guests in attendance wore “Action This Day” lapel pins provided by The Churchill Centre.
Although unable to attend in person, Mary Soames, Patron of The Churchill Centre, was able to view a live-streamed broadcast of the ceremony via the internet. She wrote the Speaker: “My family and I thank you most warmly for the honour that you have acccorded us and the memory of my father.” Her son, Nicholas Soames, was in attendance and spoke on behalf of the family during the one-hour event.
Laurence Geller, Chairman of The Churchill Center, spoke of the Centre’s mission “to foster statesmanship, vision, boldness and courage among freedom-loving peoples throughout the world by preserving the thoughts, words and deeds of Sir Winston Churchill.” Geller expressed the gratitude of the Centre to Congress and noted the presence of many members of the Churchill family including Edwina Sandys and Randolph Churchill as well as other guests including Lady Esther Gilbert, the wife of Churchill’s official biographer Sir Martin Gilbert and Lady Aurelia Young, daughter of the sculptor Oscar Nemon, who originally created the bust in the 1950s.
The ceremony finished up with Daltrey performing a second time as he sang “Won’t Get Fooled Again!”, a choice that reminded the audience of the foresight and wisdom of Winston Churchill. The Speaker said he had promised “majesty” at the ceremony and introduced Daltrey with the words, “who better to represent rock royalty?”
The bust and its polished Crema Marfil limestone pedestal were donated to the US House of Representatives by The Churchill Centre pursuant to House Resolution 497 passed on 19 December 2011 in recognition of the 70th anniversary of Churchill’s first address to Congress. The attributes carved on the pedestal are: “Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, Statesman, Defender of Freedom, Honorary US Citizen.” Below this is a quotation from Churchill’s 26 December 1941 speech to Congress: “In the days to come, the British and American peoples, will for their own safety and for the good of all, walk together in majesty, in justice and in peace.”
The bust itself is just the third estate cast made from a life model created by the artist. The others are also on display in the capital cities of the Second World War Allies–at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow and the Churchill War Rooms in London. The lost-wax casting of the this bust from the original plaster was overseen by Alice Nemon Stuart, the daughter-in-law of the sculptor and manager of his artistic estate. The bust will be on permanent display in the small House Rotunda on the first floor of the U.S. Capitol, at the bottom of the “British Steps” in an area which Speaker Boehner declared would now be designated the “Freedom Foyer.”