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Q&A: Why Churchill bust was removed from Oval Office

President Barack Obama brought this bust of Abraham Lincoln to the Oval Office.

Associated Press

President Barack Obama brought this bust of Abraham Lincoln to the Oval Office.

Return of Churchill bust

Please explain why President Barack Obama returned the bust of Churchill to Britain? The British seem very offended by this action.

As all presidents do, President Barack Obama is adding personal touches to the White House. One of the things he has done is replace a bust of Winston Churchill in the Oval Office with one of his historical hero, Abraham Lincoln.

Churchill's bronze is now in the possession of the British ambassador to the United States, Sir Nigel Sheinwald.

The Churchill bust was loaned by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to the Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and President George W. Bush was said to like it because he viewed himself, like Churchill, a wartime leader.

An interesting side note: Churchill was prime minister in 1952 when the British forcefully put down a Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya. Among the Kenyans allegedly tortured by the colonial government was Hussein Onyango Obama, the president's grandfather.

From what we've read, the British tabloid press has been more offended by the decision than British officials or citizens. Churchill expert Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, told Newsweek he thinks the average Briton will be unfazed by the action because they have always been puzzled by America's fondness for Churchill.

Indian name meanings

How does the sassa and hatchee at the end of so many names of Florida towns and rivers translate into English? Such as Homosassa and Choctawhatchee?

Many of the unusual names of Florida towns and rivers were coined by Indian tribes.

For example, hatchee is a Choctaw Indian word meaning river, stream or creek. Hence the Choctawhatchee River.

The Caloosahatchee River is from the Calusa Indian tribe, Calusa meaning "fierce people."

Homosassa is a Seminole-Creek Indian creation for "place of many pepper plants" — homo meaning "pepper" and sasi meaning "is there" or "place."

Thonotosassa is also a Seminole-Creek combination meaning "a place with flint."

'Potter's field' originated in Bible

Where does the term "potter's field" come from?

The term is first mentioned in the New Testament in the Gospel of St. Matthew. After betraying Jesus, Judas Iscariot felt guilty and returned the 30 pieces of silver the priests had paid him for the betrayal.

Not wanting to return "blood money" to temple coffers, the priests bought a field from a potter to be used as a place to bury strangers. In time, the term "potter's field" came to describe a graveyard for unknown or indigent persons.

Q&A: Why Churchill bust was removed from Oval Office 03/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 20, 2009 10:55pm]
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