Thursday, September 27, 2007

Yesterday I drove from St. Louis to Kansas City. Along the way I stopped at the Winston Churchill Muesum in Fulton, Missouri. Why is there a Winston Churchill Museum in the middle of Missouri? Because it was at Westminster College in Fulton that Sir Winston delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech. (His friend, the Missourian Harry Truman, had encouraged him to speak at Westminster.)

Anyway, it's a lovely little museum in the basement of a Christopher Wren church that was destroyed by German bombs during the Second World War, then reconstructed in Fulton. My favorite piece was a gray felt top hot signed on the top by Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin at Yalta.

Some random thoughts: Churchill and Truman couldn’t have come from more different backgrounds, but Harry didn’t hold Winston’s upbringing against him, and the two became quite close. … I hadn’t realized until yesterday that British MPs need not live in the districts they represent. … Churchill switched parties twice: from Conservative to Labour, then back to Conservative. … Churchill lost parliamentary elections in 1922, 1923, and 1924! … When his wife told him that losing the 1945 election might be a blessing in disguise, Churchill replied that it was “quite effectively disguised.”

Today I did some research at the Truman Library. I expect to stay in Kansas City until Sunday, when I will resume my journey.

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