House Speaker John Boehner, known for showing his emotions, teared up during a congressional ceremony Wednesday honoring British prime minister — and hero to many — Winston Churchill.
Lawmakers of both parties spoke at a ceremony Wednesday morning to dedicate a bust of Churchill in the U.S. Capitol. While listening to audio of Churchill addressing Congress weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Boehner was spotted wiping tears away from his face.
In addition to Boehner, other politicos who spoke at the event included Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; and Secretary of State John Kerry. Guests were also treated to the tunes of The Who’s Roger Daltrey, who sang his band’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” as well as Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”
During a lighter moment, Boehner revealed that one of Churchill’s chief criticisms of the United States was that he found “our toilet paper to be too thin and our newspapers to be too fat.” McConnell reminded everyone that Churchill, though often thought of as a man of the 20th century, was actually born less than a decade after Lincoln’s shooting and first visited the U.S. in 1898 “before the days of the X-Box.”
Kerry also shared another humorous moment from Churchill’s past. He told a story in which an intoxicated Churchill was told just how drunk he was, only to respond by calling the accuser ugly, while noting that he would be sober the next day.
Though he never met the revered world leader, Reid said he has read all of Churchill’s books and biographies, listened to his speeches, and had dinner with one of his grandsons once in Las Vegas. “He is also one of my personal heroes…. I feel like I know him,” said Reid.
Pelosi noted that she has pictures of Churchill, with her father in the background, in both her leadership and personal offices. Even Senate Chaplain Barry Black said in his benediction that Churchill left the world freer, wiser and safer.
All of these positive words greatly touched Nicholas Soames, one of Churchill’s grandchildren and a member of the British Parliament. Soames returned the high praise and told the crowd that this tribute would have caused his grandfather “great pride and great pleasure.”
Churchill is known to have had a strong relationship with President Franklin Roosevelt, which proved to be greatly beneficial to both of them during World War II.