A strange and very amusing evening

If you had been living in London in early 1941 and the Germans had been bombing your city for months, killing thousands, how would it affect your behavior?

Here's how playwright and performer Noel Coward reacted:
Had a few drinks, then went to Savoy. Pretty bad blitz, but not so bad as Wednesday. A couple of bombs fell very near during dinner. Wall bulged a bit and door blew in. Orchestra went on playing, no one stopped eating or talking. Blitz continued. Carroll Gibbons played the piano, I sang, so did Judy Campbell and a couple of drunken Scots Canadians. On the whole, a strange and very amusing evening. People's behavior absolutely magnificent. Much better than gallant. Wish the whole of America could really see and understand it. Would not have missed this experience for anything.
This diary entry is part of an article ("The Last of England") by Charles Glass in the Nov. 2005 Harper's Magazine. Mr. Glass contrasts the Londoners of 1941 with some from 2005, who, Glass observed, shut down the night life and stayed home from work after the July 7 bus and train bombs.

There are at least a couple reasons for the difference, Glass asserts. In 1941, U.K. citizens knew even after two straight months of bombing that mass emotional breakdowns could've brought the Germans closer to winning the Battle of Britain. Glass also sees Tony Blair's anti-terrorism efforts as encouraging hysteria while decreasing civil liberties.