Fulton, Missouri is located in central Missouri, USA. It is 105 miles / 169 km from St Louis. Westminster College is a private college in Fulton. It was established in 1851 as Fulton College. Although it is a small college, with about 1500 students enrolled in 2020. There is something very special about this college: America’s National Churchill Museum is located on the campus.
On October 1945, Sir Winston Churchill received a letter from Westminster College President Franc McCluer, asking him to come a deliver a talk on international affairs at the school. The letter featured a remarkable postscript from a different president, the President of USA, “This is a wonderful school in my home state. Hope you can do it. I’ll introduce you. Best regards, Harry Truman.” So the two world leaders, Winston Churchill and President Harry Truman, descended onto the campus of Westminster College in rural Fulton, Missouri.
On March 5, 1946, At the Westminster College Historic Gymnasium, Winston Churchill delivered his speech titled “The Sinews of Peace”. He predicted the Cold War and sounded its early warning. This most famous Churchill’s speech during peach time is also often referred as “Iron Curtain” speech.
We went to Fulton last year, but unfortunately the National Churchill Museum was closed due to Covid and maintenance. We have planned to visit the museum this year sometime. Although, we couldn’t visit the museum that day, we enjoyed the Breakthrough sculpture in the foreground of the National Churchill Museum.
The Berlin Wall failed on November 9, 1989. In February 1990, Artist Edwina Sandys, granddaughter of Winston Churchill and her husband, Richard Kaplan, traveled to East Berlin to secure some well left. The East Berlin officials were impressed by the idea of a Berlin Wall monument being erected near the site of Churchill’s 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech, allowed Sandys to choose eight sections as a gift to the Westminster College. That was a generous donation, as 4-foot-wide sections were selling at a cost of $60,000 to $200,000 then. Edwina Sandys chose her sections from an area near the Brandenburg Gate for the dramatic color of the graffiti. Breakthrough was roughly 11 ft (3.4 m) high by 32 ft (9.8 m) ft long. Sandys cut out the outlined shapes of a man and a woman. The work was titled “Breakthough” to symbolize the breaking free of the countries and people under the control of the Soviet Union and communism. The silhouette cut-outs are part of a second sculpture entitled Breakfree, located at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York.
On November 9, 1990, Sandys introduced her sculpture to the crowd of 7000 people on the campus of Westminster College. Among the crowd were Former President Ronald Reagan, Senator John Ashcroft and German Minister Plenipotentiary Fritjof von Nordenskjoeld. Forty-four years after her grandfather warned of an “iron curtain,” the wide open doors of “Breakthrough” provided a concrete image of the freedom in Eastern Europe.
The wall has brought us the past and the future. We feel the fears and the hope, the grief and the joy. Today, after 32 years of breakthrough sculpture created, people are still facing the war and defending the freedom by their own life. Sunflowers are the National flower of Ukraine. It is also the state flower of Kansas State in USA. Pray for the people of Ukraine and a speedy resolution to this war!