‘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 shinning 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.’
I don’t know who wrote this but I am struck by its challenge. They say that history repeats itself. As I look around at the world we inhabit and reflect on interventions our government has involved us in I wonder how we will reflect on our lives and our dreams. Have we lived up to this old man’s dream? Did the millions of others like him who gave their lives for our future do so in vain? I wonder what our dream is?