Wednesday, 11 November 2015

We Shall Remember

We shall remember.  But what will we remember, and why?

At the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918, the first world war ended.  This war was known as the "Great War" and was supposed to be the "war to end all wars".  Ever since 1919 all Commonwealth countries, as well as many other countries, especially in Europe, have celebrated the end of this terrible war at 11:00 am on the 11th of November.  Wreaths of poppies are laid at war memorials, and many people observe two minutes silence.

It is right to remember those who died in the service of their country.  But I believe in remembering them we should also remember that it should never have been necessary for them to offer up their lives in this way.  Here I am not just talking about British and Commonwealth soldiers, and I am not just talking about those who died in the first world war.  I mean everyone who has ever died in any war.  Soldier and civilians.  There was no need for any of them to have died.  That is what we should remember.

Whether or not you are in a country that celebrates the end of the first world war (an end which almost guaranteed the start of the second world war rather than being a war to end all wars) I ask you to join with me now, as you read this, in two minutes silent contemplation.  A silent meditation for peace and goodwill to all men, women and children.  To me, this is the meaning of remembrance day.

George Santanyana told us that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it".  The first world war was a terrible war that caused terrible suffering to so many people, soldiers and civilians alike.  Because we have not remembered how unneccessary and terrible that war was we have repeated it again and again.  Today soldiers and civilians are dying in so many countries as a result.  Even one such death is one death too many.  Join me in two minutes silence to remember.  To remember how terrible war is, any war, and to remember that there is never any justification to go to war.

  The first world war came and its cost was laid on the people. 
  The second world war — the third — what will be the cost. 
  And will it repay the people for what they pay?... 
  The little girl saw her first troop parade and asked,  
  ‘What are those?’ 
  ‘What are soldiers?’ 
  ‘They are for war. They fight and each tries to kill as many of the other side as he can.’ 
  The girl held still and studied.  
  ‘Do you know ... I know something?’ 
  ‘Yes, what is it you know?’ 
  ‘Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.’

        Carl Sandburg, "The People, Yes"

Governments can only fight wars if the people agree to fight them.  Meditate now on peace throughout the world and your meditation can make the people who are still fighting those needless wars reflect on what they are doing.  Make a difference in the world, bring it closer to real peace with your two minute meditation right now.


  1. War is the mother of poverty.No need to wage a war anymore because women,elders,and children are the most affected group when a war appears.

  2. War affects every aspect of humans life. .. so engaging in war is nuisance. ...