Today I am writing my second open letter. This time to our first born son (he’s the only one who can read or fully comprehend this when I read it to him tonight).
Today is 28th July 2014. Exactly 100 years ago today the Great War began; at least that’s what they called it back then. Just as the first Rocky movie wasn’t called Rocky I, and the first Rambo wasn’t called Rambo I, and even Star Wars wasn’t called Star Wars I (although the following sequels were never referred to as Star Wars II or Star Wars III until the prequels were made, and then they became Episodes IV, V and VI respectively), The Great War didn’t know it would have a sequel.
Actually, I think so you might better understand it if I use one of your movie titles because I know we’ve had this discussion a million times. The reason it doesn’t say Ice Age 1 on the first Ice Age DVD cover is because when they made the first movie they didn’t know they it would be well received and therefore they didn’t know that they would make Ice Age 2, Ice Age 3, or Ice Age 4. I know it took me many arguments with you after I suggested you “watch Ice Age 1” to get this through to you, but I know you understand this now.
The Great War later changed its name to World War 1 after its sequel World War 2 was released in 1939. Ironically, the tag line of the first world war was “The war to end war” or as I was taught it, “The war to end all wars.” Alas, it didn’t happen. Many wars continued even after the 11th November 1918 armistice (the end of World War 1). Many more “smaller” wars started during that war. And many more wars are being fought out today.
I would love to be raising you and your brother in a world free from wars, but I don’t think I will see this in my lifetime even though I have maybe half a century left in me (at least, I hope I do).
I wonder if it’s in our nature. I wonder if we evolved to be war mongers. When you consider that each day on the Internet someone can post something and then be attacked by a thousand trolls around the world, imagine if any of these people had any real power and had the ability to turn a small negative comment into a full blown war.
The Latins had a phrase; Si vis pacem, para bellum, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” We always seem prepared for war; so where’s this peace that’s been promised?
My hope is for you boys to see the errors of our ways, and should you ever get to be in a position of power, you will do whatever you can to make war your final option. And you can start today by stop hitting each other all the time. Your mother and I are sick of all the fighting.
What’s the answer to all this? I don’t know. Greater men than you and I couldn’t come up with the answers. Maybe one day you will be greater men than all of them.
I know the speech that Churchill gave which included the line “We shall fight on the beaches” was from World War 2, but maybe, just maybe, if those who was trespass upon us would stop for a second and realise that beaches are for fun things like surfing, swimming, building sandcastles and running around being crazy people in the sun, maybe we can stop these wars.
What do you think mate? What do you think that we should do to stop the wars from happening ever again?