On Sunday, July 17, veterans of WWII, the British people, the citizens of London, the leaders of the Armed Forces and the British Royal Family will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
During the summer and fall of 1940 British air forces took to the skies over London and throughout Britain, to battle the German Luftwaffe. British, expat European and Commonwealth pilots flew 15 hour shifts, day after day, to push back the German onslaught. More than 1700 German planes were shot down, double the number lost to Britain and her allies.
At 3 Gaps, we talk about how the key to challenging our Beliefs, in the context of the Belief Gap, is to ask ourselves the question, “Will these beliefs meet my needs over time?” The question is critical because we are primed, as Stephen R. Covey writes in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, to give more emphasis to the urgent rather than the important. In other words, we too often think only in the present or the short term giving little, if any thought, to the long term.
That was not true of RAF Sergeant Ray Holmes, who was flying over London in his Hawker Hurricane when he spotted a German bomber on an attack run for Buckingham Palace – the historical seat, since Victorian times, of the Royal Family and British power. Sergeant Holmes had exhausted his own ammunition so he flew his plane right at the German bomber and rammed it, sending it spiraling into the ground. His own plane began to careen out of control from the impact. Sergeant Holmes was able to eject from the plane. His parachute caught on the side of an apartment building. He was later, safely, rescued.
There are a lot of elements that make up bravery, duty and commitment to country. One of those elements is certainly to put the higher values and the larger duty – those things that will meet our collective needs over time – above personal safety and survival. These are the seeds and the fruits of greatness. Beliefs drive Behavior and Behavior has Results – results which included, on that day, one fight in one of the greatest fights of all time – the Battle of Britain – 75 years ago, this Sunday.
(With thanks to Wikipedia.com and BattleofBritainMemorial.org)