Honoring an Icon and Having a Good Time, Too. 5

The Churchill Society of Tennessee is out to preserve the legacy of “The Man” who saved Western democracy.

Winston Churchill is one of the iconic figures of the twentieth century. And even though it’s been more than a half century since his reign as the British prime minister, his persona still looms large in the hearts and minds of Churchillians everywhere. None more so than the Churchill Society of Tennessee (CST).

Founded in March 2016 and recognized and approved by the International Churchill Society (ICS) as a chapter, the CST was born. Based in Franklin, the Tennessee chapter is the 22nd and newest chapter, and membership has grown from just a dozen at the start to more than 100 in a year.

So why this ongoing and lasting interest in Sir Winston Churchill? The ICS says on its website that ‘at a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, {Churchill’s legacy} looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.’ CST president and founding member, John Mather says, “Churchill was instrumental in saving Western democracy. I was born in 1943 in the midst of the war. And my mother later made it quite clear to me that if it was not for Churchill, we would have capitulated. You couldn’t say anything against that man. But that was the way that generation felt. He saved Great Britain. And beyond that, the man also had a life of incredible diversity.

“Churchill was a great writer and a man with so many facets. He was an author, a painter, a bricklayer even. With his wonderful rhetoric he was able to inspire people.”

Growing out of a group of Churchill admirers, the purpose of the CST, like the ICS, is quite obviously to preserve the historic legacy of the leader known simply as “The Man.” They have wholeheartedly adopted what his now deceased daughter Lady Mary Soames has said: ‘To keep the memory green and the record accurate.’ Mather adds, “People often change history a little bit and say ‘it wasn’t this way, it was that way.’ Richard Langworth, President of the ICS is coming out with a book on Churchill myths (Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality: What He Actually Did and Said) and debunks them all. And if we accept the thesis that he saved Western democracy than young people certainly need to understand who this man was and study his life.”

The group is also trying to get more involved with local schools. Mather states, “We had a seminar back in January for high schools in Williamson County where we did an in-service day with history and English teachers of International Baccalaureate students on The Man. Every teacher across the board said it was marvelous.” Additionally, WCS held a high school essay contest on what it means to act ‘Churchillian’ today.

The group is open to anyone who has an abiding and deep interest in the relevance of the mighty Sir Winston today. Mather says it’s a fun group and the only things needed to qualify are to be an admirer of The Man, to like good food, great libations (not a drinking club) and yes, cigars. The group generally meets monthly and has distinguished visiting speakers offering their expertise and perhaps a story or two about Churchill. They are quick to point out that they are not a fan club, but a group of aficionados who come together periodically to enjoy convivial conversation, libations and an even greater appreciation for The Man of the 20th Century.

Membership is only $25.00 annually and the Society is open to all. For information contact John Mather at Johnmather@aol.com.