KERRY HUBARTT: Not all answers to solving mass killings have to be tangible

Kerry Hubartt

Two films within the last year have recounted the story from World War II of the rescue of almost the entire British army from certain annihilation at Dunkirk on the northern coast of France. The story could stand as a parable about what we should be doing regarding the current crisis in our own nation.

One film, “Dunkirk,” which came out last July, depicts the evacuation of more than 330,000 British and Allied forces who were trapped by the Germans on those beaches in 1940. The other, “Darkest Hour,” which was released in November and is still in theaters locally, is the story behind that evacuation after the election of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (played by Gary Oldman).

“Darkest Hour” focused on Churchill, his rise to power on the brink of war and his dilemma whether to negotiate a peace treaty with Nazi Germany or fight for the freedom of his country. The threat to the British army at Dunkirk and of a Nazi invasion of England was imminent, and his decisions in what was his and Britain’s darkest hour would change the course of world history.

With the British Expeditionary Force trapped at Dunkirk, the film depicts Churchill making an urgent request for British boats of all kinds to attempt to rescue the besieged army.

What many may not know is that a few days earlier, May 23, 1940, King George VI requested that the following Sunday, the 26th, should be observed as a National Day of Prayer. In a national radio broadcast, he told the nation to turn to God in repentance and plead for his help. Churches overflowed across the land. That same day the call went out for boats to cross the English Channel to attempt the rescue. More than 800 vessels responded.

In a move that baffles historians, Adolf Hitler went against the advice of his generals in ordering his army to halt its advance on Dunkirk. German tanks and soldiers were idle for three days. Meanwhile, a huge storm broke over Flanders, grounding the German Luftwaffe squadrons that had been bombing the Allies, which enabled the British army to march to the coast.

Despite the storm in Flanders, an unusual calm settled over the English Channel, allowing the armada of British boats to effect the rescue.

In his “we shall fight on the beaches” speech on June 4, Churchill called the rescue a “miracle of deliverance.”

On Wednesday this week, our nation reeled once again from another tragic mass killing, this time in a high school in Parkland, Fla. We are all stunned, grieving, enraged and terrified. We cry out in despair, anger and fear for a solution to the nationwide epidemic of senseless murder.

Is the answer to ban guns? To post more policemen or even soldiers in schools?

While a plan is necessary, like the desperate call for rescue boats in Britain, what may be needed first is our own sincere nationwide call to prayer to beseech our Creator to save us from our imminent destruction from within. Yes, we had our annual National Day of Prayer last week, but we need to fill our own churches to repent and plead for God’s help to stop the killing.

Kerry Hubartt is the former editor of The News-Sentinel.