Friday, June 18, 2010

On This Day

June 18... It is the 169th day of 2010.

On this day in 1429 French forces, under the leadership of Joan of Arc, defeated the English in the Battle of Patay.

On this day in 1812, the U.S. declared war on the British in what would be called the War of 1812. To this day no one is still quite sure of what that war was about.

On this day in 1815, Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo and forced to abdicate the throne of France for a second time. This probably resulted in fewer sales of newspapers because the end of the Napoleonic Wars meant less to write about.

On this day in 1940, Winston Churchill gave his "Finest Hour" speech with this climactic pronouncement...

I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.

On this day in 1952 I was not yet born, but was coming soon... on 9/11... after what must have been (for Mom) a very long, hot summer.

On this day in 2006 I was reading A Conspiracy of Fools, the story of the Enron collapse.

On this day in 2010 a lot of people are wondering when the BP oil spill will stop spilling. Certainly books will be written, are probably being developed even as we go about our day today. Warner Bros. is probably negotiating movie rights already. As we consider the fishes and beaches of the Gulf, it is not hard to conclude This is not our finest hour.

2 comments:

LEWagner said...

What I find ironic is that so many of the same folks who screamed for allowing corporations to regulate themselves (in lieu of "big, intrusive, inefficient government"), are now screaming that Obama isn't doing enough in stopping the leak and in the cleanup.

ENNYMAN said...

All too true.