Today, April 9th, is Winston Churchill Day. Not in Great Britain. Not in Canada. Not even in Australia. Only we Yanks celebrate today as Winston Churchill Day, and the citizens of the UK and its Commonwealth have never heard of it.
That is because April 9th, 1963, was the day that Winston Churchill was the first person in the history of the United States to become an honorary citizen.
This honor has only been bestowed seven times in our nations history, given only to those of exceptional merit.
Those that have become honorary citizens have made extraordinary accomplishments, gone above and beyond the call of the average citizen, and contributed far more in their lifetime than the average Joe.
It takes nothing less than an Act of Congress to gain such status. A law must be drafted, and then voted upon by Congress, directly naming the person Honorary Citizen or allowing the President to do so. For Winston Churchill it was President Kennedy. Prior to the official ceremony, Churchill was also proudly granted citizenship by eight different states, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. This was not necessary, but was done as a prelude to the ceremony.
There are reports that Churchill was not alive at this time, but he was simply unable to attend the ceremony in Washington, D.C. Family members attended for him, while it was planned that Churchill would watch on television with his wife and communicate with President Kennedy. Although he did get to see the ceremony, problems with a local relay station prevented any communication between the Churchills and DC. Sir Winston Churchill died two years later.
But that’s not all I want to tell you today. The fact that Churchill was an artist is quite well known; the fact that he was a historian an dwriter some what less so. But while his landscapes may not be studied in any art school, his great body of work did earn him a Nobel Prize in Literature.
Churchill made his living as a writer, not as a politician. His first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War, was published in 1898, and from then on he continued to author books and write for newspapers such as the Evening Standard.
He is well known for his memoirs and histories and even produced one novel, Savrola: A Tale Of The Revolution In Laurania, in 1899. Of his two most famous work, his first dealt with the subject he was most familiar with, a six volume series on The Second World War. The second covered the almost the entire history of the British Isles, from the Roman Invasion to WWI, entitled A History of the English-Speaking Peoples.
For all these works, and “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”, Sir Winston is a Nobel Laureate in Literature.
And for those reasons, and more, he is, and will forever be, an Honorary Citizen of the United States of America.
Originally published: http://albanykid.com/2011/04/09/two-little-known-facts-about-winston-churchill/