A Test of Endurance at Dunkirk

Updated 4/2/2017

My Fitbit revealed that I got about 8 hours of sleep last night, but that none of that time was "deep" sleep. As a result of one night of poor sleep, I trudged through most of today like a zombie, half-functioning.

Ironically, I just finished reading The Miracle of Dunkirk last night. It's the story of Operation Dynamo, which evacuated 338,000 British and French troops to England, in less than 10 days, as the German army bore down on them at Dunkirk in 1940.

The evacuation was an extraordinary effort of not just the Royal Navy, but many other Allied ships, as well as hundreds of civilian vessels and sailors. As Lord stated, "History is full of occasions when armies have rushed to the aid of an embattled people; here was a case where the people rushed to the aid of an embattled army."

It’s hard to imagine the stress that these men were under, as they were bombed and strafed by the Luftwaffe and shelled by the advancing German army. Some of them went days with no sleep at all.

As Churchill delivered his famous "We Shall Fight on the Beaches" speech on June 4th, many of the men who had taken part in Operation Dynamo were so desperate to recover that they practically hibernated. One captain reportedly slept 39 hours straight!

It's amazing what human beings are capable of, when they are pushed to their limits.

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