A while back, in a conversation I was stretching to find words for a point I was trying to make when I remembered a novel by C. S. Forester “The Gun” which appeared in the 1930s.
The novel is one of Foresters many historical novels. set during the Napoleonic wars. It tells the story of a group of Spanish rebels who want to take back a city held by Napoleon’s army. (Avila).
The novel, by the way, was the basis for the film “The Pride and The Passion” with Cary Grant, Sophia Loren and Frank Sinatra, From the 1950s.
The rebels find a gigantic discarded cannon, perhaps the largest weapon in the world. The cannon represents to them the hope of a way to regain their great city of Avila, and their homeland. It is a tremendous undertaking for the rag-tag group to both conceal and move the weapon the distance to the walls they mean to breach.
Aided by an English Naval officer, who knows how to properly fire the great gun, the group under every sort of difficulty slowly pull the mighty cannon toward Avila.
After many trials, accidents and adventures (including hiding the gun in a tree, and later in a church) the group finally arrives. The range of the cannon is greater than the French cannons firing on the crowd so the plan is to breach the walls and then rush the city.
The rebels realize they will lose many of their people in the attack, but the dream of freedom is strong enough for them to move forward anyway. The cannon is positioned and fired. (This is the high point of the story). The spectacular hits smash the walls again and again and gains for them the path to victory, dearly won by their hard work and faith.
I believe it is this way in all victories from oppression, whether military, like at Avila, or Lexington and Concord, whether politically, as in Fascism vs Liberty and freedom. Whether morally and spiritually, as in love vs hate.
That vision stuck with me for years as the epitome of what we, as people in all walks of life, seek to attain. To so prepare ourselves that our message, when delivered, is sure to hit its mark and pave the way for a new understanding. And I believe, from the lessons of history, when we continue forward with that kind of concerted faith. It always will.