LONDON, July 10 — It is a resplendidly sunny Sunday in London and I did not have to wait long before finding companions who share my thesis: the hyenas bombing London’s commuters Thursday are cruel, evil, and stupid. They picked the Thursday right before all England celebrated the realm’s victory over Hitler, Hirohito, and Mussolini — the 60th commemoration of VE Day and VJ Day. And on this occasion the Brits are to cower at this cowardly act?
Down on the Mall, that splendid boulevard extending from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade and Admiralty House and Number Ten, tens of thousands of British and a mixed group of tourists ambled all day — very few Germans by the way. There are massive screens showing a very moving religious ceremony in Westminster Abbey and broadcasting not only the majestic prayers but also the majestic hymns. There are also, amidst the sloppily dressed tourists and slightly better dressed Brits, some very dignified old men, venerable veterans of the war.
Wellington said of the army he was about to unleash on Napoleon at Waterloo that he did not know how they looked to others but by God they scared the hell out of him. Maybe these venerable vets scared the hell out of their commanders and the Germans and the Japanese, but they grew into a very handsome collection of senior citizens. Two hundred or so of them carried the battle standards of their regiments at the end of a hot day, and they showed vigor to the utmost.
Then they joined the throng out on the Mall for a flyby of World War II warplanes. Yank and Brit warplanes flew by. I turned to a bemedaled vet next to me and asked him the name of one of the World War II songs being played. “Bless Them All,” his wife replied. The band had already played Glenn Miller’s standard, “In the Mood,” and were about to play our “This Is the Army, Mr. Jones.” As the jaunty tune began the vet said, “That sounds American.”
I asked what he had done in the war. He flew B-25s in 1944 and 1945. “Wonderful aircraft” he added. He flew 78 “raids” in daylight. Thursday was bad, but “it was nothing compared to what we saw in the war.” I laid down my thesis on him: it was not very shrewd of the hyenas to attack London just days before this stirring set of ceremonies. The venerable vet’s wife answered, “Brought out the British spirit.” Something after that she mumbled. I thought I heard her say, “British spirit for war.”
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