A Christmas plea from 1936

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 25 December 2012, 13:54 GMT]
In a letter to the editor published on Christmas Day in 1936 in the Washington Post, on war and peace, a public citizen asks, "...[h]ow can any country whose citizens are engaged in slaughtering other human beings so like themselves call itself “civilized?” Are the lessons which have been handed down from the beginning of time to be thrown aside, or discarded, like an old shoe when the war drums are sounded? Are wisdom and saneness ever to mean anything but the strategy of war?" ....

Full text of the letter follows:

Yesterday, as I stood among the ancient relics of a building in the Smithsonian; as I stood in a room where I was surrounded by objects so many centuries old, this thought came to my wondering mind: That of all the arts men had learned, had handed down through the ages, that the art of peace had yet to be learned.

Is civilization so old and full of wisdom that the word “war” can be left out of the dictionary? Has the perfect thought — men standing by men, rather than men standing against men — come as a permanent thing? How can any country whose citizens are engaged in slaughtering other human beings so like themselves call itself “civilized?” Are the lessons which have been handed down from the beginning of time to be thrown aside, or discarded, like an old shoe when the war drums are sounded? Are wisdom and saneness ever to mean anything but the strategy of war?

If men are worthy of the name, if nations have any honor: if women are to live and love; if babies are to utter that first sweet birth cry; if Roosevelt’s words, “I hate war,” mean more to us than the neighborhood gossip — then we must have, live and keep peace. A peace within ourselves, a peace among neighbors, peace between the nations of the world, and still more important, our peace with God.

So, in this time of Christmas tide, if our minds grow turbulent, if our hearts hold an ache greater than the heart itself and our very soul is in an agony of doubt and darkness, let us compose ourselves, and think of what the Greatest Peacemaker of all meant by “On earth peace, good will toward men.”

Mary E. Van Cleve, Washington


External Links:
WP: Letter from 1936: AChristmas plea for peace

 

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