Viewed The King’s Speech yesterday afternoon, New Year’s Eve. A fine way to conclude an important year and a better way to begin new one. The evening before we had dinner with friends about to have twin girls and in the morning breakfast with friends about to finish their final semester of business school before heading off in directions known, Samsung in Korea, and unknown, bio-tech somewhere. Over the holidays visited with the children of friends who are no longer children. Nearly all of it uplifting except when I let myself wander down the hall of what obstacles, natural and unpredictable, await them. I marvel for their talent and opportunities; I realize that we really have a lot less choice than we realize or, better, are led to believe.
This is not a downer post. Not on the first day of the year. I’ll save that for the first day after work resumes. I recommend and urge you to see this depiction of the life of George VI, father of the current Queen. Not destined for glory, he had greatness thrust upon him. In addition to the delightful acting, the encapsulations of historic facts and individuals is cleverly executed. In our own period of uncertainty, although without much risk of life-threatening danger, the film can shake one out of a comatose state of anxiety and inaction. Our audience clapped after the King’s delivery which replicated His Majesty’s wireless presentation to the Empire regarding the need to declare war on Germany. No longer need I rely on the BCS Bowl for my 2011 inspiration.
“In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in history, I send to every household of my peoples, both at home and overseas, this message, spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself.
For the second time in the lives of most of us, we are at war.
Over and over again, we have tried to find a peaceful way out of the differences between ourselves and those who are now our enemies; but it has been in vain.
We have been forced into a conflict, for which we are called, with our allies, to meet the challenge of a principle which, if it were to prevail, would be fatal to any civilized order in the world.
It is a principle which permits a state in the selfish pursuit of power to disregard its treaties and its solemn pledges, which sanctions the use of force or threat of force against the sovereignty and independence of other states.
Such a principle, stripped of all disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine that might is right, and if this principle were established through the world, the freedom of our own country and of the whole British Commonwealth of nations would be in danger.
But far more than this, the peoples of the world would be kept in bondage of fear, and all hopes of settled peace and of security, of justice and liberty, among nations, would be ended.
This is the ultimate issue which confronts us. For the sake of all that we ourselves hold dear, and of the world order and peace, it is unthinkable that we should refuse to meet the challenge.
It is to this high purpose that I now call my people at home and my peoples across the seas, who will make our cause their own.
I ask them to stand calm and firm and united in this time of trial.
The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield, but we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to God. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then with God’s help, we shall prevail.
May He bless and keep us all.”
Brief background on the development of the story; screen writer suffered a stammer as well!
Australian press describes Mr. Logue. Seems a bit more sophisticated than portrayed in film.
4 Feb 2011 addendum. Related article in 15 Jan 2011 The Economist