WAR EXPRESSES ALL THAT IS DEBASE, CORRUPT AND DEMORALIZING, SAYS LOCAL CHAPLAIN
The generation gap is widening every year between those who have experienced actual warfare and those whose experience is of a vicarious nature, such as through movies, stories from grandparents or classroom instruction.
Today’s youth are unable to grasp the terrible impact upon mind and soul of the atrocities of war, the sometimes needless sacrifice of human life or the cry of a mother who has just received word of her son’s death in battle.
Such is the experience of a minority of our population, mostly the 70-plus age group.
And, thank God, that those of our present generation have not tasted the abhorrent and savage act of a debauched, degenerative, aggressive nation, bent on destroying anyone who does not adhere to its ideological concepts.
Today, those who have fought to stem the advance of Nazism, fascism and communism are to be lauded for their dedication to a cause, for their sacrifice of personal ambition for the concept of freedom and for their determination to create a society in which all can live without fear of war.
As they march, attend church services, stand at cenotaphs, we stand in heart with them, knowing that their thoughts turn to comrades fallen at their side in fields of battle long ago.
Perhaps, in memory of some, there are words similar to these: “Every position must be held to the last man – their time farmbe no retreat. With our backs to the wall, and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight on to the end.”
Or “there is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, it is all hell. You can bear this warning voice to generations yet to come.”
These are two contrasting messages – one emphasizing bravery, the other the horror of war – yet both are essential in frame.”
Few today would glorify war. There is no such thing as an inevitable war.
If war comes, it is due to the failure of the human heart and, perhaps, of human wisdom.
In the 1800s, Napoleon once said, “Two armies are two bodies which meet and try to frighten each other.”
Daniel Dafoe said, “It is the art of war which I take to be the highest perfection of human knowledge.”
Before mankind ever proceeds “to frighten each other” and puts into practice “the perfection of human knowledge”, society needs to sense that war is contemptible and should be put down by all sensible people, just as we would put down a vulgar mob.
War gratifies the combative instinct of mankind.
It satisfies the love of plunder, destruction and cruel perversion.
It expresses all that is debase, corrupt and demoralizing.
He who advocates war is the epitome of evil, while he who seeks to prevent war is a paragon of all that is good.
During the American Civil War, a general said, “We trust, sir, that God is on our side.”
Abraham Lincoln’s retort was, “It is more important to know that we are on God’s side.”
On this Remembrance Day, let us believe that God is on our side because our trust and confidence is in Him.
At the same time, we should remember Lincoln’s words.
This column was written by Rev. Dr. Ron Holden, chaplain of the Osoyoos Branch 173 of the Royal Canadian