AMAC Magazine - Volume 17 / Issue 6 - NOV/DEC 2023

stamina or focus, even when depres- sion knocked. Incredibly, when terror was afoot, thousands of bombs falling, he kicked into high gear, pulling his nation to their “finest hour,” which also became his finest, an hour all about courage. All this is offered as my memory drifts, in these tough times, to that cycle — many years ago — up to Blenheim Palace. Seeing where he was born, I cycled another fifteen miles to where he was buried. To my utter surprise, the man who saved the Western world — the man who never gave up on freedom, never lost faith in the power of goodness to prevail over evil, never stopped believing good men and women will always outpace, in power, strength, and grace, detractors — had no grand affair for a stone. In the shadow of a little church, a churchyard where stones tipped this way and that — as they do all across America for good people — his stone, laid flat and joined by Clementine, lay quiet, nothing regal, no airs. These days, as I ponder the chal- lenges we face, I am fortified by this half-American who showed us how it is done, this living and dying busi- ness, this fight to the death for free- dom business, wholly unrepentant, an unstoppable warrior. I am fortified by the power of ideals to gain flight, good to come from what no one expects. Churchill might have been a lord, might have died in a dozen places,

might have been outfoxed by appeas- ers, might have been lost to history, might have been overwhelmed rather than undaunted, but that is not what God wanted. I get up in the morning, drink strong coffee, read, think, write, and within me somewhere refortify the will to fight, spiritually and politically, as needed in other ways. Memories sometimes flow back from that cycle to Blenheim and Bladen, because I drink from a mug with a quote on it. The quote is from Winston Churchill. It is a simple quote, direct, uncompro- mising, one that lifts me even now as I think about the strife, the cross currents, the political and physical conflicts that swirl. Churchill, despite all, never lost his hope — never, never, never. He was a realist, as well as an idealist, a wit that did not quit. What is the quote? Just this: “All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: Freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.” As we approach the Christmas sea- son, may we never lose hope, or the power it possesses to turn the future our way. Robert B. Charles Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secre- tary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, ten-year naval intelligence officer, and five-year chief counsel to the US National Security (oversight) subcommittee. He is the author of “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and today serves as National Spokesman for the Asso- ciation of Mature American Citizens (AMAC).

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