It was 1940. France had fallen to the Germans. War was on Britain’s doorstep. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain understood he was inadequate to the task of leading wartime Britain and resigned in May 1940; the British parliament promptly elected Winston Churchill to be their Prime Minister. He is reported to have said at the time “Finally, someone is in charge who knows what he is doing.” Churchill, with typical resolve, set out to prove to the world that Britain, despite her precarious position no more than one hundred miles across the Channel from Hitler’s forces in France was still a nation to be reckoned with.
July 1940 found the Axis powers preparing for an attack on North Africa. A French naval flotilla sat off the coast of Algeria, opposite the cityof Oran. Churchill feared the French would hand over operational control of these ships to the Germans and gave the French an ultimatum to either withdraw from the area or be blown out of the water. The French ignored him. Six ships were destroyed and 1,200 French sailors were killed.
Now that is resolve.
It’s been said that greatness requires only preparation and opportunity to reveal itself, and perhaps the opportunity hasn’t yet arrived for a leader as great at Churchill to arise.
I am hopeful. He is needed.
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We do well to honor great men, and it is a good thing occasionally to remind ourselves of the love and affection Churchill left in his wake. This short video is a worthy and moving summary of “The Day of Sorrow,” the day in 1965 England buried her beloved son, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87Xkr8z3lEo.