Posted by: SJS | December 24, 2022

Two historic speeches–two towering wartime leaders

On December 26, 1941, my father–George “Red” Stahley–had just turned 17 years old when he listened on the radio to the speech delivered by British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, to a joint session of the United States Congress. Red was a sophomore in high school and, like all young men his age, he knew that America’s entrance into World War II would change the course of his life. The inspiring words of Churchill helped to galvanize the spirit of the American people for the wartime challenges that lay ahead. Although I am uncertain when my father made the decision to enlist in the US Navy, I know it was well before he graduated from high school in 1943. My strong suspicion is that the profound words of Winston Churchill struck a chord deep within his soul on that memorable day in December of 1941.

On December 21, 2022, the day after what would have been my father’s 98th birthday, I had the opportunity to watch on television the address of Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to a joint session of the US Congress about the status of his nation’s continuing war against the Russians and to express the deep gratitude of the Ukrainian people for the support received from the United States. Like Prime Minister Churchill, President Zelenskyy made the brave, dangerous trip far from his homeland to bring a powerful message at a pivotal moment not just for Ukraine but for all people of the world who care about democracy, freedom, and human rights.

Watching Ukraine’s leader present a battle flag sent by Ukrainian fighters on the front lines to House Speaker Pelosi and Vice President Harris moved me deeply. Seeing that battle flag juxtaposed with the tricornered flag box holding the American flag–like the one presented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) at my father’s funeral in 1999–made a strong, indelible impression on me and reminded me of Red Stahley’s enormous courage, bold patriotism, and spirit of sacrifice as a very young man.

I am a fortunate son, indeed.

Best wishes to all for a happy Christmas and a pleasant holiday season. Thank you for your continued support of my blog.


Responses

  1. Merry Christmas.


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