LAURINBURG — A Winston Churchill aficionado told a group of local Republicans that people today could learn a lot from the former British leader.
Craig Horn, chairman of the Churchill Society of North Carolina, spoke at Monday’s meeting of the Scotland County Republican Party. About 34 people attended the talk that lasted more than an hour.
Horn, who is also a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, said it was Churchill’s tenacity that helped rallied the British people during World War II, and led his country from the brink of defeat to victory.
“He stood up and he stood strong, even if he had to stand alone,” said Horn, who often makes reference to Churchill in speeches on the House floor and whose office is adorned with Churchill memorabilia.
Born to an aristocratic family in 1874, Churchill served in the British military and worked as a writer before going into politics. After becoming prime minister in 1940, he helped lead a successful Allied strategy with the U.S. and Russia during WWII to defeat the Axis powers and craft post-war peace. Elected prime minister again in 1951, he introduced key domestic reforms. Churchill, who won a Nobel prize for his writing, was also known for his courage and quick wit. He died at age 90 in 1965.
Horn said Churchill always saw public service as something important.
“I think it’s not just a message that’s important not just to the local Party but to everyone. A message of public service, commitment to ideals. Public service is a high calling.
“And that you don’t have to be disagreeable in order to disagree. Unfortunately we don’t have many people to do that.I don’t want to say I am a one man crusade but I’m going to try and change the tenor of how we talk to each other.”
At the time of Churchill’s death, Horn was standing guard duty in 1965 in Germany as a member of the U.S. Air Force.
“We were on high alert. I started hearing all about Churchill. I was like who is this guy? I became interested in the study of the American Civil War,” Horn said. “One of the many things I read was what Churchill wrote. But what really impressed me was what not what he said. It was how he said it.”
Horn also got to be good friends with Churchill’s family after meeting the late prime minister’s youngest daughter Mary Soames at a conference in Boston.
“I am very honored to be involved with The Churchill Centre,” said the Weddington Republican, who is serving his third term in the House. “I dare say in the next five days of the next periodical you read, you will find some reference to Winston Churchill.”
Maria D. Grandy can be reached at 910-506-3171.