Education, End-of-Life, Grief/Grieving/Bereavement, Humanity, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Dunkirk…How Much do you Know About It?

I just saw the movie Dunkirk with my fiancé. No matter how many WWII movies I watch or how many books I read, I realize there are so many more stories to be told and I will NEVER learn all about the war. It is not possible.

There is much to gain from this movie. Many individuals to focus on and each individual did something small which lead to something great!

The takeaways from the movie are the sense of community that for the most part existed then, but seems to be missing in today’s world.

Imagine being a soldier who fights for your country and is shipped overseas to help other countries fight a war, then you are left behind in …let’s say a place named Dunkirk. You are left behind enemy lines, waiting to be rescued. Will you do as one of the characters from the movie did; you are a French soldier and you find a dead Englishman. Will you bury him and then steal his uniform to be able to leave the war zone?

Would you go back and save fellow soldiers from drowning after the boat that came to save you is torpedoed? How do you think you would both function and survive in a war?

Personally, I have no clue. I cannot imagine such circumstances today. I cannot imagine being stranded with no way to leave a country, but assuming and hoping that the country I am from is going to save me. I cannot imagine an era, although I grew up without the modern technology of today, no cell phones, no laptops, no tablets or Apple watches. No social media, and relying on intelligence and an army that in some ways are beat hoping that someone is going to rescue me and my fellow soldiers.

The death and destruction that was witnessed. The coldness that may have occurred, the uncaring, the ‘do what I need to, to survive mentality’. The symptoms that will show later; shell shock, PTSD, trauma, flashbacks, and I am going to assume after watching this movie, a hate for boats that sink, not liking water, motor oil or planes…

The positive I see is determination, the will to live/survive, hope, not giving up, focus, and a sense of community. Think all able bodied small motor boats in Britain, more than 800 of them were to be utilized or were ‘called up’ to assist the stranded soldiers.

The advancing German Army trapped the British and French armies on the beaches around Dunkirk. 330,000 men were trapped and they were a sitting target for the Germans. The beach at Dunkirk was on a shallow slope so no large boat could get near to the actual beaches where the men were.

The evacuation is often referred to as “the miracle of Dunkirk” because only 30,000 to 45,000 were to be rescued, but in fact, between May 26, 1940, and June 3, 1940, more than 300,000 troops were able to get off the beach. Nearly 80 years later, the “Dunkirk Spirit” remains a touchstone in British culture, and a reminder to face obstacles with the same tenacity and cooperation that got the Second World War troops through that dramatic evacuation.

The lesson(s) I gained from the movie was: determination, hope, stay positive, luck, give back, community, and honour…What about you?