Today was all about the destruction and effects of World Wars I and II on the United Kingdom and its people. Countless war poets wrote ballads and tales of sadness about the destruction caused from the global violence. One man stood out, Winston Churchill.
I toured the Churchill War Rooms, located across the road from St. James Park and just down the street from Big Ben, a part of the British War Cabinets Museum. Another day of gorgeous weather, around 80, but the tour was a refreshing hour and a half inside. Note, I say refreshing not because I don’t love the heat, it’s due to the fact that our flat lacks air conditions and ventilation -> it’s a hot box!!!
I learned so much about Britain’s mastermind tactical war hero, he was a man I had never really known much about, only to say I could recognize his name when dropped in casual conversation. Churchill had politics running through his blood. From an early age he involved himself in government, working his way up through ranks. When he was called to duty, he answered, no questions asked. Men show ores under Churchill during the wars described him as ruthless, demanding, rewarding, disciplined. The list goes on and on. He was a role model that worked around the clock, sleeping little, and was known to never stop until the job was done.
He was the victim of global propaganda from the Japanese and Germans, who attempted to convince the world that Churchill was a ruthless and selfish man out for his own gain. After wining the wars, Churchill retired (somewhat was voted out of office simultaneously) and still dabbled in politics with smaller jobs until his late 70’s. He was remembered as a great patriot for his country and honored with the highest regard at his funeral in 1965 at the ripe age of 90.
In addition to Churchill, the museum also lead tourist through a series of doors and hallways in which Churchill and his war cabinet strategized during the war. All of this was underground due to needed bombing protection. Wall of concrete and brick 5 feet thick loomed over my head as I travelled through tunnels of secret rooms and living quarters. As if the White House had moved underground during a time of great strife! Churchill’s wife, closest cabinet members, highest generals, and secretaries all lived in close quarters to maximize strategic planning efficiency. Scores of maps plotting submarine and troop movement covered the walls of communications rooms. The BBC even and their own rooms to broadcast public radio information to keep subjects involved about bombings, raids and other pertinent safety information. Call it an ant colony underground, these British knew how to organize military action!
A quote from the Churchill Museum portion that touched me: “Twenty to twenty-five. Those are the years!” I guess I should take the advice to heart and live it up while I can!