I just completed a very big task in terms of the book I wrote, and I thought I’d reward myself, by reading a childhood favorite of mine; a novel I read—enchanted, immersed—compulsively one week during a hot summer vacation many, many years ago. A book written over a period of years from 1938-1958 by T. H. White, The Once and Future King. I picked up the yellowed paperback, and suddenly I wasn’t reading it as a fantasy, but as a commentary on power, justice, and the mercurial nature of human relationships… For this is what was going on in the world when Mr. White was writing:
- 30 August, 1939, England
- late August – Most paintings evacuated from the National Gallery in London to Wales.
- 1 September
- 3 September – World War II
- Declaration of war by the United Kingdom on Nazi Germany following the German invasion of Poland on 1 September. Shortly after 11.00, Chamberlain announces this news on BBC Radio, speaking from 10 Downing Street. Twenty minutes later, air raid sirens sound in London (a false alarm). Chamberlain creates a small War Cabinet which includes Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty.
- General mobilisation of the armed services begins.
- National Service (Armed Forces) Act passed by Parliament introduces National Service for all men aged 18 to 41.
- British liner SS Athenia becomes the first civilian casualty of the war when she is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-30 between Rockall and Tory Island. Of the 1,418 aboard, 98 passengers and 19 crew are killed.
Being in kind of an interesting frame of mind it made me think of people of valor, those who fought, and continue to fight for human dignity, health, and the right to love. Not all of the valiant are diplomatic or sweet-spirited, but their courage is formidable — take Mr. Larry Kramer…
“It’s about speaking up, being a buffalo if you have to, being mean if you have to…”