Seventy-five years ago this June, with the German surrender a month before, Dwight Eisenhower visited allied and liberated countries and expressed his thanks to the victorious armies and appreciation for the sacrifices made during the war. He also spoke of the teamwork that was forged by the Allied effort and its meaning for the future.
Take a few minutes to watch the video of Eisenhower’s epic carriage ride through the crowded streets of London to the Guildhall Hall where on June 12 he was presented with Marlborough’s sword and the citizenship of London. In watching this seven-minute newsreel one is struck by a set of values that have seemingly disappeared. It is possible to get a sense of Eisenhower’s leadership: his humility, his humor, the depth of this thinking, not to mention his capacity to articulate historically relevant context. It should be noted that Ike wrote the speech himself and delivered the twelve-minute speech (in the audio link) from memory. Yes, without a note or a teleprompter!
I think you will be struck by power of this extraordinary moment, and by Winston’s Churchill’s moving comments at the end. Eisenhower went on to other countries for similar victory parades, eventually returning to the United States where he was given a massive parade, ending with a speech before a joint session of Congress.
Watch an account of the historic Guildhall Day—including the reaction of the British people:
Listen to the audio of Eisenhower’s full speech:
For more on this and other key moments in the life and service of Dwight Eisenhower, How Ike Led will be published on August 11.
My best to you all,