Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Most Memorable Graduation Speech

John Claypool tells the following story about one of Sir Winston Churchill’s famous speeches:

“Back in 1965 something happened that has never happened, I'm told, before or since.
There was a commencement address given at a university in the central [part] of England that is remembered by everybody there verbatim. Can you imagine? Most commencement addresses are easily forgotten. Most of them are platitudinous, and you just sit there hoping to get through as quickly as possible."

"But at one moment in history, a graduation address was given that everybody there remembers word for word. The speaker was Winston Churchill. By this time he was a very old man, very feeble of body. He'd been asked to give this address, and they had to help him up on the stand because he was so weak. In fact it was the last time he ever appeared in public. When he was introduced, they had to help him to the podium, and those there said that he stood there for a long time gripping the podium. They weren't even sure he had strength enough to speak."

"But then, they said, he lifted that great head of his and that voice that had called England back from the very brink of despair during World War II, that great voice said the last public words that he'd ever utter. And do you know what they were? 'Never, never give up. Never give up.' And with that, he just turned around and took his seat."

"They said he was absolutely electric. If you know Churchill's career, time and again he'd been knocked to the ground by failure. Time and time again when it would have been easy to give up. Time and time again when he could have become complacent. But he continued to press toward the mark for the prize.”

Source: John Claypool

Image: Winston Churchill