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Music & the Spoken Word: ‘The morning will come’

Winston Churchill’s words during World War II are a reminder that the ‘finest hour’ in life will likely be in a hard time but with courage and hope

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This was recorded in London, England, in the Cabinet War Rooms in June 2022. This will be given Sunday, May 28, 2023.

In every nation there are symbols of the character and courage of its people. In Great Britain, one of these symbols is the Cabinet War Rooms.

This secret underground bunker below central London, just blocks away from Parliament Square, housed the British government command center for six years during World War II. I am standing in one of the 200 or so rooms that make up this complex. Hundreds of government and military leaders and strategists, including Prime Minister Winston Churchill, worked around the clock in this space to keep their island nation safe. The rooms are spartan, cramped and almost unremarkable — until you consider what happened here.

The map room was considered the single most important room in the whole complex. Here a team of analysts sifted through intelligence from every theatre of the war, reporting daily to the king, the prime minister and military leaders. In a cramped closet, Churchill communicated on a secure line with United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the cabinet room, Churchill and his inner circle met 115 times — bringing together diverse views in an attempt to, as the prime minister had urged, “go forward together with our united strength” (see Churchill’s address to the House of Commons, May 13, 1940, winstonchurchill.org).

In the small BBC broadcasting studio, he spoke to his allies in occupied France. “Sleep to gather strength for the morning,” he told them in French, “for the morning will come. Brightly will it shine on the brave and true; kindly upon all who suffer for the cause; glorious upon the tombs of heroes — thus will shine the dawn” (see broadcast to the people of France, Oct. 21, 1940, winstonchurchill.org.)

Mannequins depicting British officers are seen in the World War II-era Map Room in the bunker that used to house the Cabinet War rooms, in central London, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009. The Cabinet War rooms was the secret subterranean command center where Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill plotted the downfall of Nazi Germany and sheltered from enemy air raids during the infamous Blitz on London. | Lefteris Pitarakis, Associated Press

When Churchill first took office, he pledged, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat” (see his address to the House of Commons, May 13, 1940, winstonchurchill.org). Not only did he keep that pledge, he also inspired millions to “not flinch or weary of the struggle — hard and protracted though it will be” (see Winston Churchill’s broadcast to London, Sept. 11, 1940, nationalchurchillmuseum.org).

“Let us therefore,” he said, “brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that ... [in] a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’” (see Churchill’s address to the House of Commons, June 18, 1940, on winstonchurchill.org).

As we each search for our own “finest hour,” Churchill’s stirring words remind us that we probably won’t find it in a moment of ease or comfort. More likely it will be hidden in a dark time in our lives, a time of “blood, toil, tears and sweat” — but a time when we held on with courage, hope and optimism that “the morning will come.”

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL NewsRadio 1160AM/102.7FM, KSL.com, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirecTV, SiriusXM (Ch. 143), tabernaclechoir.org, youtube.com/TheTabernacleChoir and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Mountain Time on each of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.com/viewers-listeners/airing-schedules.

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