Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Churchill Series – Sept. 18, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

I’ll respond again today to a reader’s comment.

On Sept. 13 I posted on the powerful influence Henley’s poem Invictus, which Churchill memorized as a boy and remembered into his last years, had on him.

The post drew the following comment:

From the prose more powerful than poetry department:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, 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, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,

and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.
I couldn't argue that those words – so full of pride, determination, courage and majesty – spoken on May 4, 1940 just as the last Allied soldiers and seamen were leaving Dunkirk don't excel Invictus or any other poem in their influence on Churchill; and for that matter, the British people and liberty loving people everywhere then and since.

So I concede to the commenter and say “thank you.”

In a few weeks I’ll do something else. I’ll pull together a few posts dealing with incidents surrounding the development of the speech and the private reactions to it of some people “both great and small” as they say.

I hope you’re back tomorrow for a Churchill and Garbo post.