In his book Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, author Jon Meacham recounts the deep friendship that developed between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II. Interesting, Roosevelt had quite a negative impression of Churchill when they first met twenty-one years earlier. Roosevelt was running for a state senate position and made a visit to London. He found Churchill brusque. What brought them together years later as president and prime minister was Adolf Hitler. However what kept them together was friendship.
Throughout WWII, they exchanged nearly 2000 letters, spent over 100 days together, and celebrated holidays with one another. They encouraged each other in the midst of dark times. In the last 24 hours of Roosevelt’s life, he penned these words for a speech that he would never deliver: “Today we are faced with the pre-eminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships.” [I’ll resist the temptation to discuss the lack of friendship and collegiality, which characterizes the political atmosphere in Congress at present. However, I do wonder if friendship is one of the missing ingredients in solving our nation’s problems.]