Fulton, Missouri allowed me to indulge my unquenchable anglophile-side while on this, my American road trip. It was at Westminster College, in Fulton, in 1947 that Winston Churchill said the famous words, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent”. I stopped in this small college town just south of I-70 in the middle of Missouri to visit The Winston Churchill Memorial and Library, which sits beneath the restored remains of St. Mary Aldermanbury Church. The church was destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666, rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren and destroyed by German bombing in 1940. In 1966, the remains were taken to Westminster and restored to the memorial and museum I visited. While living abroad, I’ve visited many Churchill sites including his birthplace of Blenheim Palace, the Cabinet War Rooms in London, and the Imperial War Museum on more than one occasion; I was impressed by the thoroughness of the Fulton Museum. Well laid-out and informational, I learned about his boyhood, his difficult school days, and early years as a cavalry officer, writer, and ambitious politician. His years in the cabinet, WWI, and his ‘wilderness years’ were covered equally well. There was good film footage of Nazi Germany, and much on WWII. The final phase of the exhibit was Churchill’s speech at Westminster which could be watched. I did so. In one of the final rooms, there were piped in recorded voices of his contemporaries sharing their thoughts on Churchill and the many quotes that are attributed to him, often these were quite comic. On the walls were listed some of his quotes.
Here are a few of my favorite:
Never trust a man who has not a single redeeming vice.
Criticism is easy, achievement is difficult.
A nation that forgets its past has no future.
Dogs look up to you. Cats look down on you. Give me a pig. He just looks you in the eye and treats you as an equal.
Before leaving, I asked for a lunch recommendation from the student-worker manning the entrance. I had a great salad(yummy asparagus, grilled red peppers, gruyere, and chipotle chicken on greens) at Beck’s on the main street, a restaurant with a tin ceiling, long bar, store front windows and an extensive menu. I had a nice chat with owner. They been there eight years and business is good. It was easy to see that this was the best place in town. It was hopping and had a wait at the door by the time I left. My waitress informed me that the oldest building west of the Mississippi River was on the corner, the Harvey Clapp building. I made sure I took a good look at it and a photo, too before striking out for Kansas City to spend a two nights with old friends from Kalamazoo.