It was my oldest son’s birthday this past week…Courson turned 12. And just like both his grandfathers and all of his great-grandfathers, he is intent on serving in the military. So we had to make seeing the new film, Dunkirk, a special date for the two of us.
The movie was intense, but not the least bit gory. Hans Zimmer did an amazing job with the musical score and the suspense, fear, and anxiety are palpable because of his genius. I recommend this movie for any child 10 and over who can take a good nail biter. But the movie is a must see for moms and dads for sure.
Dunkirk is a miracle of gargantuan proportions during World War II and it is mostly unknown except for those of us who are history buffs or military fans. The super boiled down version of the truth is this:
Hitler’s army has invaded France and pushes back the French and English troops to the sea at Dunkirk. They are surrounded by the enemy and even overhead the German Airforce (Luftwaffe) is easily able to mow down the 400,000 men that are waiting to be picked up on the beach. Meanwhile, the bay is too shallow for big destroyers to come in and the German submarines (boats) are picking off whatever ships do come to the rescue while the Luftwaffe shoots the boats from above. It looks as though hundreds of thousands of men are about to be left for dead.
Spoiler alert: they get rescued.
And not by the Royal Navy.
338,226 men were rescued over a period of 8 days by a hastily assembled lot of 800 civilian boats running back and forth through the English Channel. Risking the Luftwaffe, UBoats, their lives and their livelihood, the fishing vessels, ferryboats, pleasure crafts and even small dinghies with their civilian captains and owners made the daring trip to get the British Expeditionary Forces off the coast of France as they were needed at home to stave off the impending German invasion of England.
Then came one of Churchill’s most famous speeches.
“We shall fight…”
The scenes in this film that were the most touching to me were the ones that showed the devotion of the common citizen and the need of the military leaders. Dunkirk is miraculous for so many reasons…Hitler could have easily taken tanks and more planes and decimated the entire army…but he didn’t. Much like at Normandy, he followed different advice that ultimately cost him victory. And thank God for that. The officers on the beach had no way to get help for their men, but they built a pier out of trucks and tanks just in case a rescue came. They waited, hopeful as they scanned the horizon for an answer to prayer…and along came an naval fleet of fisherman, pleasure cruisers and sailboats…armed with tea and blankets for their men in uniform. What an unlikely story that only God could write.
I thought of all of you as I watched that movie. So many saying that raising children today who will actually love and serve the Lord is impossible. So many voices screaming that the standards of character, integrity, and the values we hold as parents for our children are bygone, outdated, and impossible.
And here we are, the little fishing trawlers, sailboats, and pleasure craft desperately trying to ferry our loved ones away from an enemy attempting to steal their very souls and destroy their lives.
Maybe the quest is impossible.
But Jesus said that with God, all things are possible.
Maybe the goal is unattainable.
But with Jesus we can be sure that if God is for us, who can stand against us?
Uboats and Luftwaffe be damned, we are gonna give it a try.
We may lose a few on the beach, we may take a few hits and even come back injured from the fight. We may be out-manned and out-gunned, but we won’t be out-tried or shrink back from the fight.
And that’s why Churchill’s famous speech rings so true in my heart even though I relate to it in an entirely different context than what he meant. I hope you’ll take the moment to listen to his speech (in the short video above) and recognize the sheer magnitude of his somber words…remembering that at the time of this event, the United States had not yet entered the war. This was nearly 18 months ahead of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
And remember, I’m always here fighting too. Right alongside you. Go see Dunkirk with your family. And then let’s be the little ferryboats of faith together!