My Thoughts: The Five Simple Words of Roger Summers

The little fishing boats braved death and danger rescuing soldiers trapped on Dunkirk.

The story of Dunkirk proclaims, reminds that people care and do indeed look out for each other.

It sometimes seems as if I’ve known Roger Summers forever.

He and I worked together for the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram back when you could depend on newspapers for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Politics was left for the editorial page.

Hard news made the front page.

And the reporting and writing of Roger Summers dominated the front page.

He was the consummate newsman. Dig up the facts. Dig them up first. Go to press. Leave the other newspapers in his dust.

His writing was eloquent and exquisite.

Still is.

Roger Summers

In a blog for us, Roger wrote about the courage of the rescue at Dunkirk.

Dunkirk, where in World War II hundreds of thousands of British and other soldiers were cut off by the German forces, pushed back into the water – the beaches of Dunkirk.

Some of the troops in water up to their shoulders, their noses.

Some there for hours.

Some with hope quickly washing away.

With no place to go.

Staring into the watery face of death.

To the rescue, military ships tried to go.

But the water of Dunkirk beaches was too shallow for them.

Not so for the little ships, whose boat bottoms were of “shallow draft” that would enable them to maneuver the waters of Dunkirk beaches.

Plus, the courage of the little ships and those in command of them ran deep.

The call went out to the little ships – pleasure boats, fishing boats and such:

Come. Come quickly. Come help.

Several hundred of the little boats – some manned by owners, some requisitioned and manned by military personnel – responded.

Individually, they rescued trapped soldiers by the dozens, by the hundreds, by the thousands.

The effort went on throughout the day, throughout the night.

For hundreds of hours.

Back and forth.

Back and forth.

From May 26, 1940, through early June the little ships came and went.

From the beaches of Dunkirk in France and across the English Channel to Ramsgate, a seaside town in Kent, England – though some of the small boats took rescued troops from the shallow water to military ships in deeper water.

When it was over, almost 340,000 troops had been rescued by some 800 boats in what was called Operation Dynamo.

He would later write in a comment to me a message that is as important today as it was on the seas of Dunkirk. Read the words and listen to the wisdom of Roger Summers.


Now into my octogenarian days, I have come to conclude that all of the efforts of all religions come down to an overriding teaching of five simple words: 

Look out for each other.

I see, read, and hear examples of this many times each day.

A powerful, major example of it is in the story of Dunkirk and the little ships.

It is a captivating story of countless stories.


I intend to keep looking for some of the little stories that make up the larger story of Dunkirk.

It is a story that must be told and retold for all of time, for it is a story of people at their finest. 

It proclaims, reminds that people care.

And do indeed look out for each other.

That must never, ever be forgotten.

Because of his words, they never will.

Roger Summers is the author of Heart Songs from a Washboard Road. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.

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