07 December 2011

Day 8 of Christmas Nightlight Readings: Winston Churchill's Christmas Eve Speech, 1941

In honor of today, in remembrance of Pearl Harbor, I thought it suitable to post Winston Churchill's Christmas Eve message from 1941. Many books were written on the subject and I'll post them here, but I thought first I would talk about the message. Three days before Christmas Churchill showed up at the White House, deciding to spend his holiday in America on eve of WWII. During the presentation of the White House Christmas tree, both FDR and Churchill gave a message to honor the occasion prior to Churchill lighting the tree.

I spend this anniversary and festival far from my country, 

far from my family, and yet I cannot truthfully say that

 I feel far from home.  Whether it be the ties of blood 

on my mother's side, or the friendships I

have developed here over many years of active life, 

or the commanding sentiment of comradeship

 in the common cause of great peoples 

who speak the same language, who kneel at the 

same altars and, to a very large extent, pursue 

the same ideals; I cannot feel myself a stranger 

here in the center and at the summit of the United States. 

 I feel a sense of unity and fraternal association which, 

added to the kindliness of your welcome, convinces me 

that I have a right to sit at your fireside and

share your Christmas joys.

Fellow workers, fellow soldiers in the cause, 

this is a strange Christmas Eve.  Almost the 

whole world is locked in deadly struggle.  Armed 

with the most terrible weapons which science can 

devise, the nations advance upon each other. 

 Ill would it be for us this Christmastide if we were not 

sure that no greed for the lands or wealth of any other 

people, no vulgar ambitions, no morbid lust for material 

gain at the expense of others had led us to the field.  

Ill would it be for us if that were so.  Here, in

the midst of war, raging and roaring over all the lands and seas, 

sweeping nearer to our hearths and homes; here, amid 

all these tumults, we have tonight the peace of the spirit 

in each cottage home and in every generous

heart.  Therefore we may cast aside, for this night at least, 

the cares and dangers which beset us and make for the

 children an evening of happiness in a world of storm.  

Here then, for one night only, each home throughout the 

English-speaking world should be a brightly lighted 

island of happiness and peace.

Let the children have their night of fun and laughter, let the gifts of 

Father Christmas delight their play.  Let us grown-ups share to the full 

in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern tasks 

and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that by

 our sacrifice and daring these same children shall not be 

robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a 

free and decent world.

And so, in God's mercy, a happy Christmas to you all.
 To hear the whole broadcast, play this Youtube video:

Two books that have been published in the last couple of years are centered around that "infamous" Christmas Eve.

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