How Did the United States Honor Winston Churchill after World War II?

In 1963, former British prime minister Winston Churchill became the first person to be officially granted honorary U.S. citizenship. In his proclamation, U.S. President John F. Kennedy praised how Churchill's “bravery, charity and valor, both in war and in peace, have been a flame of inspiration in freedom’s darkest hour.” By that time, eight U.S. states had already granted the 88-year-old statesman honorary citizenship, due to his steadfast alliance with the United States and leadership during World War II.

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  • Churchill and his wife, Clementine, watched the ceremony from their London home on a satellite feed, as his son, Randolph, accepted the honor. Churchill received an honorary document similar to a passport.
  • Eight people have been granted honorary U.S. citizenship. Two were honored while they were still living -- Churchill and Mother Teresa -- and six were named posthumously.
  • The other recipients were Raoul Wallenberg in 1981, William Penn and Hannah Callowhill Penn in 1984, the Marquis de Lafayette in 2002, Casimir Pulaski in 2009, and Bernardo de Galvez in 2014.
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