Britain paid tribute Friday to former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, one of its greatest leaders, who guided the country through World War II, on the 50th anniversary of his death. Prime Minister David Cameron attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square in London and spoke of Churchill’s many triumphs.
“Half a century after his death, Winston Churchill’s legacy continues to inspire not only the nation whose liberty he saved but the entire world,” Cameron said at a memorial service at Westminster Hall, according to the Guardian. “His words and his actions reverberate through our national life today.”
Churchill was born in 1874 in Oxfordshire, England, and was elected to Parliament at the age of 26. In 1915, he resigned during World War I after a devastating Ottoman victory on the Gallipoli peninsula, widely regarded as one of the biggest failures for the Allied forces. He was later appointed prime minister at the onset of World War II and would go on to lead Britain to victory.
As a speaker, Churchill was considered one of the greatest orators in history. Below are some of the British leader’s best quotes.
On pessimism: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
On having haters: “You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
On tact: “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”
On sobriety: “I may be drunk, miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.”
On marriage: “My most brilliant achievement was my ability to persuade my wife to marry me.”
On truth: “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
On hard times: “If you are going through hell, keep going.”
On critics: “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
On grammar: “From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.”
On having pets: “I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
On groveling: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
On letting bygones be bygones: “If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future.”