National Winston Churchill Day on April 9th commemorates the day he was made an honorary citizen of the United States.
Well known for his leadership as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II, Winston Churchill earned his reputation through experience both in politics and the military.
- On this day in 1963, a ceremony for honorary citizenship presided over by President John F. Kennedy, took place for Winston Churchill. While Churchill was not present at the ceremony, his son and grandson attended.
- Honorary though his citizenship may be, Churchill can uniquely trace his roots back to Virginia by way of Brooklyn, New York. His mother was American, Jennie Jerome. Her marriage to Lord Randolph Churchill produced two children: John Spencer and Winston.
- It was the first occasion in U.S. history an honorary citizenship was granted.
- Since then, only seven other honorary citizenships have been granted. Of those, six have been posthumous honors.
- In 1996, the U.S. granted Mother Teresa the only other honorary citizenship during a person’s lifetime.
- Winston Churchill took 60 bottles of alcohol with him when he set out for the Boer War.
- In 1899 Winston Churchill was held POW in South Africa, and after hearing that his release was unlikely, he made a 300 mile escape by jumping freight trains and walking. His escape made him a national celebrity in Britain.
- Churchill’s favorite brandy was Hine, his preferred Champagne Pol Roger, and his top Scotch Johnnie Walker Red Label. His famous Churchill Martini consisted of a glass of chilled English gin supplemented with a nod toward France.
- During World War Two, Winston Churchill required a pressurized chamber known as the life pod to fly due to his health. It included a phone, an ashtray, and an air circulation system so that he could smoke.
- Winston Churchill was a distant relative of 1st US President George Washington.
- The first known use of the abbreviation “OMG” was sent to Winston Churchill in a letter.
- Most people know Winston Churchill only as a politician with many not aware that he was a very successful writer. He produced mostly non-fiction works but did also write a fiction novel called Savrola. In 1953, Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”
- Winston Churchill produced over 500 paintings throughout his life. Along with his careers as a politician and writer, he also spent much of his free time painting. He first began painting at the age of 40 in 1915 when he was not as active in politics; he represented the constituency of Dundee but held no ministerial office.
- Churchill was one of the first adopters of the ‘onesie’. Known as the ‘siren suit’, so called because of its suitability in the event of an air raid, it was essentially an all-in-one outfit designed with both comfort and practicality in mind.