Words have great power. And great words in the mouth of a gifted orator and strong statesman can bring a nation through a war…or a pandemic.
#Covid19 is the Great War of our time. A war we as a global community are fighting together against an invisible, merciless foe.
At times like this we need the soaring rhetoric of a Sir Winston Churchill to lift our spirits with words of hope and courage. These are the famous speeches of Prime Minister Churchill only slightly adapted to address the great challenge of our times.
10 May 1940
We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.
You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous virus, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human history. That is our policy.
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
20 August 1940
If it is a case of the whole nation fighting and suffering together, that ought to suit us, because we are the most united of all the nations, because we entered the war…with our eyes open, and because we have been nurtured in freedom and individual responsibility and are the products, not of totalitarian uniformity but of tolerance and variety….
We cannot tell what lies ahead. It may be that even greater ordeals lie before us. We shall face whatever is coming to us. We are sure of ourselves and of our cause and that is the supreme fact which has emerged in these months of trial….
We are still toiling up the hill; we have not yet reached the crest-line of it; we cannot survey the landscape or even imagine what its condition will be when that longed-for morning comes. The task which lies before us immediately is at once more practical, more simple and more stern. I hope – indeed I pray – that we shall not be found unworthy of our victory if after toil and tribulation it is granted to us. For the rest, we have to gain the victory. That is our task.
1 March 1955
We live in a period, happily unique in human history, when the whole world is divided intellectually and to a large extent geographically between the creeds of Communist discipline and individual freedom, and when, at the same time, this mental and psychological division is accompanied by the infection by both sides of COVID-19….
Mercifully, there is time and hope if we combine patience and courage…. The day may dawn when fair play, love for one’s fellow-men, respect for justice and freedom, will enable tormented generations to march forth serene and triumphant from the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair.
18 June 1940
I expect that the Battle of COVID-19 is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own…life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the virus must very soon be turned on us….If we can stand up to it, [we] may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’.
4 June 1940
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen…into the grip of the Coronavirus and all the odious apparatus of Covid-19, we shall not flag or fail.
We shall go on to the end,
we shall fight by self-isolating in our homes,
We shall fight for ourselves and our families,
We shall fight with growing confidence
and growing strength in the air,
we shall defend our Island whatever the cost may be,
We shall fight in our homes,
We shall fight in the clinics,
We shall fight in the field hospitals,
We shall fight in the medical centres;
We shall never surrender.
Let this be Our Finest Hour. Let us prove ourselves worthy to be the next Greatest Generation through our courage, our kindness and our generosity during the coronavirus pandemic, drawing on Sir Winston Churchill as our model and his words as our inspiration.
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