The last page of The Atlantic these days is devoted to the Big Question, posed to various luminaries, and for October 2013, it’s this: What was the greatest speech, historical or fictional, ever given?
The usual suspects — Shakespeare, Churchill, JFK — are duly listed, but the last one throws us a bit of a curve. You probably know it better than you do most of the others, too:
General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of American forces in Afghanistan:
“Great speeches can inspire nations, armies, and teams to win against the odds and to take action when things seem hopeless. In that tradition, an entire generation can recite the simple message delivered by a slovenly fraternity brother: ‘What? Over? Did you say over? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!'”
Thank you, General McChrystal; and thank you, Senator Blutarsky, wherever you are.