Sunday morning at 5:00 a.m. Baltimore time marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice which ended the hostilities of the Great War—not often called World War I until around 1940 when, alas, there was World War II. The signing took place in a small railroad car in Compiegne, France, and was meant to conclude “the war to end all wars.”
In virtually every town and village Tim and I have visited in France over the years—and in Britain as well—there is a monument erected to the Great War, and particularly to those who lost their lives. In every instance the list is a long one as the carnage of that war was nearly unparalleled. Most of the monuments now have engravings on the other sides for World War II deaths; including in France a listing of those “deported,” meaning sent to the death camps. And then there are listings for wars in Indochina and in Afghanistan. These lists are nowhere nearly as long as those for World War I, but they do tell us that the war to end all wars did not.
As brothers and sisters of the Prince of Peace, we will gather on Sunday not only to remember those who served and those who died, but to recommit ourselves to the search for peace. As many of the veterans of combat will tell us, war is not the answer, it is hell. We gather to pray together and work together so that the next hundred years are not as bloody and violent as the last one hundred years.