On the one-hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War I, I offer the following sobering thoughts.
How naive were our grandparents and great-grandparents when they declared that the Great War was the war to end all wars. Unfortunately, we, as a species, seem incapable of learning the lessons of our own history. While it is tempting to place our hope in human potential and reason, the truth of human nature is, however, we are capable of inflicting such incredible horrors on each other. No race, religion, or nation has garnered a monopoly on violence or oppression. All are equal in their offense. The millions of lives lost to greed, power lust, distorted ideologies should astound and humble each one of us. I challenge everyone to study and learn the lessons of history. We must stop treating history as something trivial, boring, or tangential to “real education.” None of our scientific or technological advancements have proven capable of stemming the tide of innocents ground into the dust of human progress. Science provides many wonderful solutions to grave problems, but on the other hand has created more efficient tools for genocide. True understanding of the history and nature of humanity is vital to provide a warning to the next generation. A warning that should not be tempered but rather that warning should be demonstrated in all of its profound carnage. Humbly I ask that we take seriously the call to remember.