Friday, June 4, 2010

A Pretty Miraculous Deal

So, 21 years since the men [mostly old] running China sent troops & tanks into Tiananmen Square, teeming with protesters [mostly young], agitating for civic liberties. Well I remember standing at my ironing board in my little house in Colorado Springs, watching the coverage of the massacre. Long time ago. There are probably soldiers lurking about even now, infesting the broad Square, making sure no one marks the day.

Longer still, seventy years ago today. German forces had blitzed their way across western Europe. By the end of May, British and French soldiers, along with many from "brave little Belgium." So she was called in 1914, the last time Belgium tried & failed to defend herself from her rude neighbors to the east, Now, in 1940, Allied armies were shoved to the very edge of Europe. Thousands of men clustered 'round France's seaport at Dunkirk, trapped between the Nazis and the English Channel. Over the next few days, more than 800 destroyers, gunboats, fishing boats, yachts, and little motor boats came to their rescue. By the 4th of June, they'd plucked some 338,000 men from the brink. Miraculous, heroic, it really was, this "Miracle at Dunkirk," but it wasn't the end, of course. "Not the end.," as Prime Minister Winston Churchill would say in 1942, upon another critical moment in the Second World Nightmare, " It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

"We shall not flag or fail," said Winston, that most eloquent of Britain's P.M.s, on this day, 70 years ago today," ...We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be."

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