Tricia Nixon Cox, daughter of President Richard M. and Pat Nixon, and Anne and Susan Eisenhower, granddaughters of President Dwight D. and Mamie Eisenhower, will be taking part in the celebration.
It’s always worth the trip to Fulton to visit the National Churchill Museum but this May a special event to mark the 50th anniversary of the museum will bring family members of former British Prime Minister Sir Winston S. Churchill and President Harry S. Truman to take part in festivities on the campus of Westminster College, it was announced today.
Churchill and Truman’s grandchildren, Randolph Churchill, the Honorable Edwina Sandys, M.B.E., the Right Honorable Sir Nicholas Soames, and Clifton Truman Daniel will be among the featured guests at the golden anniversary activities during Churchill Fellows Weekend Friday through Sunday, May 3-5, 2019, at Westminster College and throughout the city.
The public is invited to participate in all of the festivities on campus and at the museum, the only museum in North America that commemorates the life and times of the 20th Century’s greatest leader.
In addition to the Truman and Churchill family members, Tricia Nixon Cox, daughter of President Richard M. and Pat Nixon, and Anne and Susan Eisenhower, granddaughters of President Dwight D. and Mamie Eisenhower, will be taking part in the celebration along with other members of the honorary anniversary committee, which is chaired by Randolph Churchill.
“We are very excited and honored to have members of the Churchill and Truman families and many other notables taking part in this historic event here in Fulton,” said Timothy Riley, the Sandra L. and Monroe E. Trout Director and Chief Curator of America’s National Churchill Museum. “This 50th anniversary celebration will be fun, and will inform, inspire and motivate people to learn more about Churchill’s leadership and the speech that changed history and still influences the world today.”
Riley was referring to Churchill’s historic March 5, 1946 speech at Westminster College – “Sinews of Peace,” which is often called the “Iron Curtain speech” – because it sounded the alarm on the fracturing relationship between the post-war superpowers, and essentially marked the beginning of the Cold War between the Allied nations and with what was then known as the Soviet Union.
Churchill came to Fulton at the invitation of Westminster College President Franc McCluer, who asked Churchill to deliver a talk on “international affairs.” The invitation letter also included a hand-written message from then-President Truman, who wrote "This is a wonderful school in my home state. Hope you can do it. I'll introduce you. Best regards, Harry Truman."
The 50th anniversary celebration includes many festivities, from a colorful parade of military and high school bands and floats to various exhibits and lectures about Churchill, the museum, and the historic church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, which is an integral part of the museum.
“The church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, which was designed by celebrated British architect Sir Christopher Wren, is historically significant, and profoundly inspirational,” said Westminster College President Dr. Fletcher Lamkin, describing the church that originally was built in Central London and dates to the 12th Century, and was bombed and burned during the London Blitzkrieg on Dec. 29, 1940 at the start of World War II.
The church was acquired by Westminster College in 1963, dismantled, and all 7,000 stones were shipped, railed, and trucked from Central London to Fulton, where it was reconstructed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Churchill’s 1946 speech, Lamkin said.
The museum originally opened in 1969 as the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library. But, in 2009, the United States Congress formally recognized the museum as America’s permanent tribute to Churchill, and officially designated it “America’s National Churchill Museum,” the name it bears today.
In addition to the anniversary parade, Riley said exhibits will include paintings by Winston Churchill, a celebrated artist, and by American presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, George W. Bush, all of whom were inspired by Churchill’s leadership and artistry. There also will be an exhibit of more than 4,000 paintings by Mid-Missouri school children to illustrate the term “special relationship,” which Churchill often used to describe the link between the U.S. and Great Britain.
All Missourians and other fans of Winston Churchill around the globe are invited to take part in the May 3-5 weekend festivities.
The parade will start at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 4, and stretch about two miles throughout the city, according to organizers. “We want as many people to join members of the Churchill family and others as they descend upon Westminster College,” Lamkin said. “The parade will culminate at America’s National Churchill Museum with a dramatic flyover of World War II military aircraft.”
The weekend also will include a special tribute to Eagle Squadron 1st Lieutenant John F. Lutz, a young airman from Fulton, who volunteered to join the Royal Air Force before the U.S. entered World War II. After the U.S. entered the war, Lutz and other American airmen joined the U.S. Air Force, and on May 4, 1943, his plane was shot down over the English Channel, and he was lost at sea.
Today, the church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury is the official chapel of the highly decorated Eagle Squadrons.