The world feels like it's in utter turmoil. The U.S. has, arguably, ceded its global leadership position. Russia waged a cyber-war on our election. They did the same ahead of Brexit, as well as bolstering Marine Le Pen's far right-wing party, the National Front, in France. Most analysts agree that Vladimir Putin wants to weaken the U.S., NATO, and the European Union. Meanwhile, Putin has encouraged the rise of hyper-nationalist pseudo-fascist parties, which have been experiencing political successes across the Western world unseen since the 1930s.
There was the poisoning of a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, on British soil, which led Prime Minister Theresa May to kick 23 Russian diplomats out of the U.K. The Russians have taken this as a provocation. And all of this is the tip of the iceberg when one considers the civil war in Syria, the increasing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and North Korea.
It is perhaps apt to revisit a speech Queen Elizabeth had written in 1983 in the event that World War III should break out. The transcript was released in full by the Telegraph on August 1, 2013 thanks to the U.K.'s "thirty year rule."
In the beginning of the speech, she tries to couch everything in the joy of the holiday spirit:
When I spoke to you less than three months ago we were all enjoying the warmth and fellowship of a family Christmas. Our thoughts were concentrated on the strong links that bind each generation to the ones that came before and those that will follow. The horrors of war could not have seemed more remote as my family and I shared our Christmas joy with the growing family of the Commonwealth.
Now this madness of war is once more spreading through the world and our brave country must again prepare itself to survive against great odds.
She goes on to explore the parallels of when her father had to lead the nation through WWII:
I have never forgotten the sorrow and the pride I felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my father's inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939. Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me.
Presciently, she notes that technology is our greatest threat:
We all know that the dangers facing us today are greater by far than at any time in our long history. The enemy is not the soldier with his rifle nor even the airman prowling the skies above our cities and towns but the deadly power of abused technology.
And she closed with a rallying cry of unity in grace:
But whatever terrors lie in wait for us all the qualities that have helped to keep our freedom intact twice already during this sad century will once more be our strength. My husband and I share with families up and down the land the fear we feel for sons and daughters, husbands and brothers who have left our side to serve their country. My beloved son Andrew is at this moment in action with his unit and we pray continually for his safety and for the safety of all servicemen and women at home and overseas.
It is this close bond of family life that must be our greatest defence against the unknown. If families remain united and resolute, giving shelter to those living alone and unprotected, our country's will to survive cannot be broken.
My message to you therefore is simple. Help those who cannot help themselves, give comfort to the lonely and the homeless and let your family become the focus of hope and life to those who need it.
As we strive together to fight off the new evil let us pray for our country and men of goodwill wherever they may be.
God bless you all.
One man found this a fascinating exploration of history:
Others were skeptical that they were actually the Queen's words:
This person wondered whether a new speech had been prepared:
And others had harsh words for the class divide between the royal family and the proletariat:
But Chloe managed to find hope:
Queen Elizabeth II set an example for all with her words. They serve both as warning and ray of hope. Let's heed the former and cling to the latter.
Godspeed to all of us.
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