History has been kind to Winston Churchill, not because he wrote it, but because he shaped it.
So said Prime Minister David Cameron on the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s funeral.
That funeral took place three weeks before my fourth birthday and remains one of my earliest memories, not least as the newly-arrived television set was actually on during the day!
My ability to digest the information I tried to quiz from my father was limited, at that age, to say the least.
But I am sure the occasion launched my long-standing fascination with history, especially British history.
One of the first books I ever received, other than standard children’s fare, was R.J. Unstead’s “Men and Women in History”, a book I still own to this day.
And as you can see, Churchill featured prominently on the front cover, along with Queen Elizabeth I.
A dozen or so years ago the BBC ran a series “100 Greatest Britons” and asked for nominations and votes.
I was delighted to see Churchill topped the poll and Queen Elizabeth I, my pick of all the Tudor monarchs, was right up there at number seven, but dismayed that John Lennon ended up at eight, a place ahead of Lord Nelson who retains a special place in the hearts of true Nelsonians!
Everyone a generation older than me has a Churchill story to tell.
His quotes are legion and his speeches enriching, storring and fascinating.
We will never see his like again as the circumstances that saw him shape history can never be repeated.
The world stood still on the day of his funeral.
Dockyard cranes dipped in silent tribute and the streets of London, and fields between there and his final resting place in Oxfordshire, were packed with people saying a silent thank-you to our greatest ever Prime Minister.
Is it not time we have a Churchill Day to remember him?