Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Churchill Series – Sept. 25, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

From time to time extraordinary events occur which seem to defy logical, natural explanation.

Then there are imperishable words that one need only present to caring readers and then say no more.

With those observations in mind, we read in William Manchester's The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 of close calls Churchill had while serving as a battalion commander at the front during WW I:

On December 28, 1915, The Times [of London] carried an interview with a corporal, an Orangeman, who was quoted as saying of Churchill, “A cooler and braver officer never wore the King’s uniform. . . . His coolness is the subject of much discussion among us, and everybody admires him.”

Repeatedly, when he was elsewhere on the line, his frail sandbagged shelter was demolished by direct hits. Like Douglas MacArthur, who also defied enemy fire [near the same place] two years later, [Churchill] felt shielded by mysterious intervention, believing that “Chance, Fortune, Luck, Destiny, Fate, Providence seem to me only different ways of expressing the same thing, to wit, that a man’s own contribution to his life story is continually dominated by an external superior power.” (p. 581)
A quarter century later, on May 10, 1940, the King asked Churchill to form a government and lead the country in its hour of greatest peril. Churchill immediately began the process of forming a new government, recalling later that “I felt as if I were walking with destiny and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial."


Timothy said...

Hi John,
Wonderful post. Not matter what his religious views, he truly understood that there was something larger in life than himself, and knew that he would eventually be used for greatness. That much is clear.

BTW, I'm working through the abridge edition of his account of the WWII. I'm really enjoying it.