A ceremony was held on Wednesday morning dedicating a new bust of Sir Winston Churchill to be put on permanent display in the Capitol. The event took place in the National Statuary Hall and featured speeches by government leaders and Winston Churchill’s grandson as well as a musical performance by Roger Daltrey, former lead singer of The Who.
The event was conceived by the office of Speaker John Boehner, who hosted the ceremony and who spoke along with other U.S. officials, including Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and John Kerry. Each spoke about America’s enduring friendship with Great Britain and how Churchill in particular was, as Boehner put it, “the best friend the United States ever had.”
Kerry noted the irony of the event, saying, “To think that in Statuary Hall, [in] a building British troops tried to burn down, that the bust would stand along Samuel Adams, the founder of the Sons of Liberty — as well it should.” Kerry went on to praise Churchill for his originality and ability to understand America sometimes better than Americans do.
Following these speeches in honor of Churchill, Laurence Geller, chairman of the Churchill Centre, and Nicholas Soames, Winston Churchill’s grandson, praised the great friendship forged by Churchill between America and Great Britain.
Many of the speakers discussed how Churchill was the son of an English father and American mother, who admired the United States, particularly Lincoln, well before he rose to prominence. Churchill was also the first, and so far only, non-American to ever be awarded honorary U.S. citizenship, bestowed upon him by an act of Congress in 1963.
The dedication of this bust comes after President Obama removed a bust of Churchill from the Oval Office, a move that generated criticism early in Obama’s presidency.
Roger Daltrey capped off the ceremony with a performance of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”