The Islamic Post Blog


Lincoln Bicentennial Sees Churchill Bust Returned to England by ipinfo2
March 25, 2009, 5:58 am
Filed under: Front Page News, International, March Volume 2009, National | Tags:

The bicentennial celebration of Abraham Lincoln last month saw a change in the White House. The bronze bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, which had stood in George Bush’s Oval Office for eight years, was replaced by that of Lincoln. The Times Online reports: “Recent photographs show that a bust of Abraham Lincoln, one of the new President’s heroes, has been moved to take the position once occupied by Churchill.”
The bronze figure of the famous British statesman was lent to the former president by Tony Blair, as a “symbol of the enduring special relationship with America.” Yet, “Mr Obama shows little evidence of the Anglophilia that led his predecessors to pepper speeches with quotations from Churchill,” the London Times observes. President Obama’s grandfather was reportedly one of the many Kenyans detained without a trial when Churchill ordered a state of emergency in that country.
During current British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s first visit to the White House this month, the press in England noted he was treated with a good deal less pomp than prime ministers had been given by previous administration. Commenting on the visit, Washington Post columnist Dana Milibank mentioned the gift that was meant to replace the Churchill bust in the Oval Office as being “a pen holder carved from the timbers of the [anti-slave] HMS Gannet, sister ship of the HMS Resolute, the wood of which was used to make the Oval Office desk.” Milibank further noted the video made by reporters of the session which she said was “plagued by audio gaps.” British historian Tristram Hunt has suggested that perhaps Britain should have honored the President with a work to commemorate another bicentennial, the 200th anniversary of Thomas Paine’s death, since he was British born, and one of the “fathers of the American Revolution.” Paine was quoted in President Obama’s inaugural address and is the author of the time honored classic, Age of Reason.
President Obama has also mentioned Abraham Lincoln’s command in his struggles with a bipartisan Congress. In commenting on Abraham Lincoln’s standard after the Civil War was won, President Obama was quoted as saying before Congress during the Bicentennial commemoration for Lincoln’s birth: “In the war’s final weeks… President Lincoln was asked what was to be done with the rebel armies once General Lee surrendered. With victory at hand, Lincoln could have sought revenge. He could have forced the South to pay a steep price for their rebellion. But despite all the bloodshed and all the misery that each side had exacted upon the other, and despite his absolute certainty in the rightness of the cause of ending slavery, no Confederate soldier was to be punished, Lincoln ordered. They were to be treated, as he put it, ‘liberally all round.’ […] That was the only way, Lincoln knew, to repair the rifts that had torn this country apart.”
Source: LPAC, Whitehouse.gov

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