Henry V Fans: Today is St Crispin’s Day

King Henry rallies his troops just before the decisive Battle of Agincourt.

William Shakespeare (Portrait)From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
St Crispin’s Day Speech.

General George S. Patton echoed this famous scene in a speech he gave to his troops in 1944, just before the Normandy landing (another decisive victory on French soil, though of course this time the French were not the enemy).

Thirty years from now when you’re sitting by your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks, ‘What did you do in the great World War Two?’ You won’t have to cough and say, ‘Well, your granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.’ No sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say ‘Son, your granddaddy rode with the great Third Army and a son-of-a-goddamned-bitch named George Patton!

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