Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting my mom for a visit. It was a nice time to reconnect, catch up, and explore…
While here, my mom mentioned wanting to see the movie Dunkirk. I hadn’t heard of it, but not having seen a movie in the theater in a while, and knowing my mom has good taste in movies, I was definitely up for the venture.
Dunkirk recounts the historic Battle of Dunkirk on the coast of France during WWII. As it goes, the Nazis had surrounded British, French, Belgian and Dutch forces in May of 1940. The Battle of France was beginning to heat up, so British and Belgian forces rallied to France’s aid.
Roughly 400,000 Allied soldiers were trapped on the French coastline, hemmed in by the Axis powers. Conceivably, the only means of survival was an evacuation by means of the English Channel.
Being that the piers on the French coast had been destroyed and large naval vessels couldn’t sail into the shallow waters nearest the shore, the call went out to British civilians to relinquish their private yachts and small fishing boats to the government for the rescue mission deemed, Operation Dynamo.
Prior to this plan, Churchill had briefly considered a conditional surrender to the Nazis. Had he done this, it’s possible that the outcome of WWII could have been vastly different, being that this was just the beginning of the war. Churchill also thought they’d only be able to rescue a mere 30-40,000 soldiers.
In response to the call, approximately 850 private vessels sailed across the channel, some with their proprietors aboard, and rescued over 330,000 Allied soldiers!
Upon reflection, a connection formed in my mind between this historical event and current happenings here at home…
Right now, there’s a battle being waged in America… Race and ideologies are recurring themes… It’s insidious, subtle, disturbing… It can be difficult to understand… Passions run deep… We have seen how our government and media reacts… Use of force, replaying the horror, perpetuating doom…
But this is OUR nation… these are OUR people… these are OUR communities… Simple civilians, we must continually respond to this call… Government power and strength is limited… We must offer our vessels, dawn our sailor’s cap, hoist the mainsail and stand ready at the wheel…
Just as the fate of hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers was changed by the intervention of British citizens, so too, the fate of our communities depends on us, the citizens… we the people… The battle at Dunkirk was too great for the government to manage alone… and so the battle in our nation runs too deep for government resolution…
So, what can we do?? What does it look like to fight such a battle??
We must all ask ourselves these questions because the answers will look different for each one of us. However, may I suggest we start by remembering who we are… We are the UNITED States of America…
And so, let us start by coming together… making a point to stand together in our similarities, rather than stand apart on differences… choosing peace instead of pride… holding hands across the aisle instead of fists… choosing UNITY…
At Dunkirk, “…the divisions of society…were put aside and ‘everyone came together and showcased what is best about Great Britain. They found unity from diversity.“*
It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies.
– Thomas Paine
Where there is unity there is always victory.
– Publilius Syrus
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
– Psalm 34:14
*LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-ca-mn-dunkirk-history-20170714-story.html)
pc: Sarah Coffey, Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
4 thoughts on “A Lesson from Dunkirk…”
such a beautiful and inspiring post. Thanks Sarah for sharing your thoughts. They are good ones! 😉 Keep it up!
P.S. I continue to be amazed by your photos.
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Thanks for following and reading, Darek! That means a lot to me! 🙂
Couldn’t agree more! The States of America don’t feel so United these days. But I completely agree that it is up to us as individuals to unite… in our personal relationships, in the workplace and in publuc, in our communities, and as this happens, cities and states and the country would be a much better place to live!!
What does ‘pc’ mean at the end of this post?
Pc means “photo credit.” 🙂