Monday, September 05, 2005

A Lesson In History

SEPTEMBER, 1940 (And NO I was not born then either, evil readers)

During World War II King George VI and his consort Queen Elizabeth were praised for their staunch resolve and morale-boosting visits to factories and war-battered cities.

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The Queen Mother was a rallying point for a beleaguered nation during World War II. She stood firm against the threat of invasion by Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and won the hearts and minds of the public by her wartime work and wit.

The Queen Mother and her husband, King George VI (The real King George), were ill prepared for the role thrust upon them by the abdication of Edward VIII only two years earlier; but when part of Buckingham Palace was bombed in September 1940 she felt she could relate to the suffering being endured by the country.

While surveying the damage she famously said: "I'm glad we have been bombed; I feel I can look the East End in the face." She had resisted calls for herself and her two teen-age daughters, Elizabeth (the present Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret, to flee London for the safety of North America. "The children will not leave unless I do," various sources have reported her as saying. "I shall not leave unless their father does, and the king will not leave the country in any circumstances whatever."

The royal standard flew defiantly over the palace throughout the war, and the Queen Mother learned how to shoot a revolver, practising her aim in the palace gardens. The Queen Mother toured the country regularly, sharing in its woes, visiting badly damaged hospitals and factories, and keeping up the morale of the troops.


Meanwhile back at the ranch, King George the Pretender got a look at some of the damage as Air Force One descended to less than 3,000 feet over the hardest-hit area, particularly New Orleans. This was on Wednesday..... Three days after Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

First Lady Laura Bush visited the Cajun Dome (Lafayette, Louisiana) on Thursday shutting down the computer room for eight hours (along with the food service rooms to the side and the women's showers).

You may have seen it on CNN; apparently seven refugees were allowed back so Laura Bush could help them in from of the cameras. Now, I know this is the sort of thing that happens whenever a VIP tours a disaster site, and maybe Laura Bush handing out that loaf of bread really will lead to an increase in donations.

All I can say is, to have paralyzed a third of a day of operations at this stage of the game, it fucking well better. And I tried to position myself to say this to her in front of the television cameras too, but instead I only got a wave and a smile as she hurried past me. Looks like I'm going to have to become nationally infamous another day. (Written by Hal Law a volunteer at the Cajun Dome)

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