We have seen deeply touching, solemn and bittersweet images this past week and in the coverage accompanying those images, references were made to this piece of writing:
Two rivers run silently through London tonight, and one is made of people. Dark and quiet as the night-time Thames itself, it flows through Westminster Hall, eddying about the foot of the rock called Churchill.
The paragraph above comes from Vincent Mulchrone’s coverage of Winston Churchill’s lying-in-state in January 1965, reprinted and linked here. The content is moving, of course, but what really strikes me is how well written it is. It’s what I notice when I read something from an old copy of Life, for example. Or an old New Yorker. People who wrote for a living could actually write.
Below, a video of Sir Winston’s funeral. The crowds may look different now, more multicultural, which is good – though they were not without diversity in 1965 – certainly more casual now, but the lack of cynicism is the same. We need more of this – more of recognizing people who make us better and who deserve our grief, more of admitting that they will be missed.