Run, Hide, Tell

Run, Hide, Tell

77 Years ago this week the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill delivered a speech to their House of Commons remembered as the ‘We Shall Fight’ speech. You may remember this speech from your history classes but you may not remember that it was in response to the ‘Miracle at Dunkirk.’

In late May and early June 1940 over 300,000 British, French, Belgian and Canadian troops were surrounded by a massive German force in and around the French port of Dunkirk.  They were low on ammunition, almost out of food and the British Navy lacked the sealift capability to rescue even a small percent of the stranded.  The entire British Expeditionary Force was about to be destroyed.  Imagine the bravery of the British Navy and Merchant Mariners risking everything to rescue this force…now think back to your history lessons and you may remember the other force that made the ‘Miracle’  possible…  If you said, everyday Brits, civilians, amateur boaters, or fisherman then you remember your history.  That’s right, British civilians went to sea, into war-ravaged waters in every imaginable type of watercraft and rescued their soldiers and allies.  The greatest defeat in British military history was averted largely through the actions of the last minute civilian volunteers.

In his speech to the House of Commons on that day in June, 1940 Churchill declared:

…we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government – every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation.

The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. 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…

It’s with great sadness  that we realize in 77 short years elements of Her Majesty’s government has a different approach to those who would subjugate our British cousins.  This approach is called Run, Hide, Tell and is counter-terrorism policy at both the local and national levels.

Now don’t get me wrong.  There are times when running, hiding and telling are the appropriate responses to violence but those are not the only appropriate responses.  The British Expeditionary Force ‘ran’ from certain defeat in 1940 so that they could return better prepared to fight and eventually defeat the fascists.  When confronted with those determined to kill or enslave us, we must be willing to fight.  We saw the differences between these two approaches on 9/11/01.  For decades we’d been schooled as a populace to be non-confrontational and wait for negotiation or rescue when confronted by hijackers.  Three planes full of civilians likely followed that advice and stood by while their planes were used as weapons against important financial and military targets…but that fourth plane, Flight 93 held brave souls who were armed with nothing more than the knowledge of what had happened to the other hijacked flights.  These hardy souls didn’t follow their training… they determined that they could no longer Run, Hide, & Tell…they fought back and by fighting back they saved untold numbers of their fellow citizens.

Toward the end of my military career the Department of Defense came out with a policy not much different than Run, Hide & Tell.  The warriors I served with and I resolved never to abandon the option to fight.  One of the few fates that I can conceive of worse than becoming a murder victim…is being an accomplice to your own demise or, through my inactions, allowing others to die.  To paraphrase a great orator:  We shall fight in the streets and alleys, we shall fight in the halls and the work places, we shall fight in the markets and we shall fight in the halls of government when confronted by those determined to suppress us under the odious apparatus of Sharia law or any other form of fascism.

To read or listen to the full text of Sir Winston Churchill’s ‘We Shall Fight’ speech click here.

 

468 ad

Join the conversation

%d bloggers like this: