Today we remember, but what is it that a generation who are fast forgetting the two World Wars should remember? I think this memory (which I’ve posted before) points us in the right direction:
‘I’m only an old man now – my hair is grey, my face lined and my back bent. Only an old man. But I’ve got memories. I remember the wars. I remember how we fought to rid the earth of evil, to make the world a better place. I remember the blackouts and rationing, newspapers filled with battles lost and won, ships sunk and planes missing. Countless millions dead, dying on foreign fields and in strange waters.
And yet – there was a dream. After the war things would be different – things would be better. We won. The war, as all wars must eventually do, ended. We won, and now, looking back, I wonder?
Did we lose that for which we fought? Were we simply swept along powerless on the tide of history? Did we try to control events, shape them for a better, finer world? Or did we only swim with the ebbing tide of dying visions?
And you, young with the strength of youth, will you also be swept along? Controlled by self-centred dreams and selfish visions? You have all the things we did not, leisure, money, affluence. Too late for me, and perhaps too dangerous for you.
But we had a dream, a burning, shinning vision. We would remake the world, a world with peace and harmony, a world of respect and love, a world of truth and righteousness. But it was only a dream.
Now, I confess, I do not like this world. Perhaps my generation failed you. We did not make this world, and yet, we built it. Forget, if you will, our suffering and disappointments. But please, please an old man. Take up our dream, our feeble vision. Make it a shining beacon in a world without hope. And take up hope, not in princes or armies; not in political systems and leaders but in the God of hope.’
We often use the words ‘For your tomorrows we gave our todays’. I wonder what we will do with our todays to honour their sacrifice?