After all these years, I can still remember the joy of perusing through a box of old books in the basement of my home. Through childhood curiosity, a wild fondness for adventure to be found only in literature, I stumbled upon the crumbled and torn wisdom of Sir. Winston Churchill. “My African Journey”, that was the title of the book and I still recall with affection the opening chapter to his enchanting escape into the great wilderness of Africa.
The aspect of Mombasa as she rises from the sea and clothes herself with form and color at the swift approach of the ship is alluring and even delicious. But to appreciate all these charms, the traveler should come from the north. He should see the hot stones of Malta, baking and glistening on a steel blue Mediterranean.
At that very moment, I realized that the book had captured my little imagination. I was spellbound by Churchill. Despite my fear of germs that exist on the surfaces of the yellow stained pages, I persevered and completed the short work in little less than a single afternoon. You see, Churchill was more than the enigmatic leader of the British Empire that stood up against the Nazis in WWII, he was an icon of his generation and a prominent hallmark of imperial history.
When I look back at the many leaders that have come and gone. Across the plains of this world, through the bigotry of nations and the duplicity of cultures, there are so few men that will ever stand the test of time. How many will be remembered with such endearment?
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Some say that Churchill was the key component in the defeat of Hitler. In 1943, Churchill met with Roosevelt in Casablanca. It was there that he planned the demise of Hitler. Many historians allude to the fact that Hitler would have been successful in his campaigns but for the ostensible courage of Churchill. He never plotted for a career in politics. He started of as a journalist and held an array of bestseller books. His words echo through the times. So regal and filled with wisdom. There are so few individuals that will ever find the courage to stand up against oppression and the wrongs of society.
In every sense of the word, he was a strong optimist. I suppose you need that quality to survive in this world.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ― Winston S. Churchill
Churchill traveled to Munich to meet the notorious Hitler. An interesting story ensues:
The two men through their advisory team arranged for the meeting, however Hitler showed very little interest in meeting Churchill. In fact, Hitler had left the possibility of meeting Churchill to chance. You see, Hitler was present at the hotel lobby, in one sense he could have been fondling with the idea of meeting Churchill, but he also knew that if he did not attend, he would insult Churchill.
When Hanfstaengl spotted Hitler, he took the Nazi leader aside and then he said: “Mr. Hitler, you should come. It’s truly important.” But the party leader remained obstinate, and said: “Hanfstaengl, you know perfectly well that I have a lot to do at the moment and that we plan to get an early start tomorrow. So — good night.”
Churchill put on a good face over the rejection. In his memoirs, Churchill writes with regret that Hitler “lost his only chance of meeting me.”
If Hitler had met Churchill in Munich, would he have realized that he was facing a man who was every bit his match? A man who actually enjoyed the war? And who would eventually force Hitler to his knees.
Churchill was a man who loved danger and sought out adventure. In this World, only a handful of men can stand on their feet and fight for what they believe in, for the few that find the courage to do so, they live with the pride of knowing that they are the real heroes of this world.
“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”
― Winston S. Churchill