“What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone? How else can we put ourselves in harmonious relation with the great verities and consolations of the infinite and the eternal?
And I avow my faith that we are marching towards better days. Humanity will not be cast down. We are going on swinging bravely forward along the grand high road and already behind the distant mountains is the promise of the sun.”
Throughout WWII, Winston Churchill’s eloquent and inspirational words gave the Brits courage to persevere through the darkest of days. As Edward R. Murrow wrote, Churchill could “mobilize the English language, and send it into battle, a spearhead of hope for Britain and the world…. It sustained. It lifted the hearts of an island of people when they stood alone.”
Churchill had at least two gifts: one was personal courage and another was a way with words. It was his own personal courage that made it possible for him to speak and strive against Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, and his gift of words that gave others the courage to fight against Hitler, too. Thank goodness he gave that gift, because who knows what kind of world we’d be living in today if Hitler had succeeded.
The word courage comes from the French root cour or coeur, which means heart. When Churchill used his personal courage to stand up to Nazi Germany, and when he spoke to the Brits of their unified purpose in opposing Hitler, he gave from his heart a gift not only to his people, but to all of us.
John Lukacs writes that Churchill “loved life very much; and he made life possible for many of us because he had a very old, and very strong, belief in the possibilities of human decency and of human greatness….In the long and slow and sad music of humanity he once sounded an English and noble note which some of us were blessed to receive and to remember.”
Churchill gave us an example of what it means to strive for what is noble with everything we have inside us to give. He gave us an example of what it means to be great.