- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I thought about this the other day when reading a history of the evacuation of about 365,000 British and French troops from in and around Dunkirk, France, in late May and early June 1940. The British today remember this as a remarkable turning point in the war. Perhaps so. And those who held off the Germans during the evacuation of course deserve a salute. But for most of the soldiers involved, the task was to line up properly and wait one’s turn. Would any other nation so glorify such an event? It resonates in British culture like the Alamo does in ours.