American Dunkirk

Saturday, September 02, 2017
by Patrick Dorinson

The surprise movie hit of the summer blockbuster season which produced no real blockbusters was Dunkirk, the story of one of the greatest events of the Second World War.

Like most of history many Americans-except for the dwindling members of the greatest generation- are unaware of the critical moments in 1940 when France fell and the survival of western democracy hung in the balance against the tyranny of Nazism.

No I don’t mean the cheap, knock off internet fueled Nazism we see today, I mean the real thing that killed millions on the battlefield and the gas chambers of its death factories.

 The evacuation of British, French and allied forces at Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain that followed are a testament to the strength, tenacity and resolve of the British people who at that time stood alone against Hitler’s relentless onslaught.

Had they not done so in those dark days in 1940 the history of the world would look very different today.

Winston Churchill had only been Prime Minister for 16 days when he had to make fateful decisions on how to save the British Expeditionary Force from total destruction in the Battle of France.

To evacuate the almost 400,000 allied troops assembled defenseless on the beach the British only had 40 destroyers.

Then the call went forth from the Admiralty for any seagoing craft of 30 to 100 feet to assist in the efforts. That was helpful but it would not be enough.

That is when the fleet of 700 “little boats” of smaller craft piloted by ordinary British citizens joined the fleet and the “miracle of Dunkirk” took place.

Over the next nine days this makeshift fleet of boats, ships and practically anything that could float rescued over 340,000 soldiers who would live to fight another day.

As Hurricane Harvey was pounding the Texas coast and flooding sunk Houston and other cities were heavily damaged, ordinary Americans from Louisiana and other parts of the South were already hitching up their boats to their pick-up trucks and heading to help their neighbors.

On any other day they might be hitching up their boats to go fishing.

But as Jesus told Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew on the shores of Galilee, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”.

As I write this these unsung heroes are still going about the work of fishing their countrymen from the now receding waters.

But they are not the only stories of Americans helping Americans.

Herds of stranded horses and cows are being rounded up by cowboys riding through belly high flood waters taking them to higher ground.

One of the most dramatic rescues was captured in a video as a human chain was formed as regular folks linked arms to rescue people trapped in a car.

Just think about that for a moment. People who probably didn’t know each other very well if at all holding on tightly to the person next to them in an effort to save someone else they probably didn’t know.

And the human chains of Houston were supplemented around the country on social media with prayer chains as many Americans dropped to their knees or folded their hands in prayers for those in need.

What made them do it?

If you don’t know then I think you don’t know the American people.

The media who has been peddling the cattle crap about how divided America is and that we will never reconcile or that we are on the verge of another civil war remain clueless about their countrymen especially during times of trial.

While I marveled at the rescues and individual and collective acts of humanity I must say unlike the media, I was not surprised because deep down I have and abiding faith in my country and her people as we well as faith in divine providence.

President Trump went to Texas to offer the support of the nation to that beleaguered state and he vowed that more help was on the way.

He hadn’t even left Texas when to media hyenas were wailing that he didn’t show enough compassion or empathy or hug anybody like Obama did or George Bush or lip biting Bill Clinton did in his day.

But Churchill didn’t go down to the docks at Dover to hug the soldiers who had just returned from Dunkirk.

Instead he acted like a leader should in times of trial. He delivered a stirring speech to Parliament saying that Britain would fight on and never give in to Nazi terror.

While hugging and might look good for the cameras, it won’t rebuild the devastated areas.

Toughness, sweat, perseverance and hard work will.

And where is the media’s empathy?

Oh, they gave the usual “thoughts and prayers” statements but I wonder how many of them even know how to pray.

And they don’t even have the decency to call a truce in their venomous battle against President Trump as their fellow citizens stagger to their rain soaked feet and begin the process of cleaning up and rebuilding.

While the media carped and whined, the ordinary Americans of all races, colors and creeds were quietly going about the business of helping their neighbors.

They didn’t create a task force or committee to review what they should do.

Dang it they just did it and they will keep doing it whether its floods in Texas, wildfires in Montana or blizzards in the Northeast.

The spirit of America is alive and well.

So here is your Cowboy Wisdom for the Week and it comes from American icon John Wayne.

“This nation is more than laws and government. It’s an outlook, an attitude”.

It is that outlook and attitude that has brought us through difficult times in our history and it will bring us through again.

There will always be new challenges and new tragedies that will knock us down.

Its how we get back up that will determine our future.