So the gathering is over and the dead, who gave their lives in the Allied cause, have taken part in that two minutes communion. But what of Germany and all that generation of German soldiers? Do they observe the two minutes silence on this day which I have claimed to be above change?
No, the eleventh of November is, for the Teutonic race, a time of humiliation when, to them, observance would not be possible for it tells only of ruined hopes, of great and soaring ambitions which received no fulfilment; it tells of a day which heralded the break up of the German and Austrian Empires and the years of suffering when, in poverty, many thousands of Germans partook only of the bread of bitterness.
God knows, the poor in other countries suffered also. But the eleventh of November, if set apart as the Great Day of the Living, must remain apart in the sense that no German or Austrian can share in its celebration, can on that day join in what should be a universal communion limited neither by race, creed, nor colour. I understand that the Germans observe the twenty-first of November and celebrate then their military achievements, their particular triumphs in arms during the Great War.
If the people of many races join in a declaration once a year that they will work for peace, the people of Germany and Austria should be of their company. And that mighty nation Russia may not stand alone, for the Slavs are our brothers also.
BEYOND HUMAN PERSONALITY
I do not suggest that the time is ripe for a proposal that Armistice Day should be celebrated on another date during the month of November, a month which so peculiarly belongs to that special period when men's thoughts are turned towards the departed. But I urge that thoughtful people should bear in mind the significance of the eleventh of November for many millions who are not of our race and who know it only as a day of fear, humiliation and bitterness.
It would be well, however, that every effort should be made for the furtherance of the idea of a pledge of peace uttered on the eleventh of November after the two minutes silence. No specific committal is involved in the words:&emdash;" I, &emdash;&emdash; pledge myself to work for peace to the best of my ability during the coming year. For all men are my brothers and all nations and races are one in God."
If this oath of the peacemakers were spoken aloud by many millions all over the world after the two minutes silence year after year, there would in time come to these people a sense of those other brothers, those millions who may not yet call themselves our brothers because they cannot share in the celebration and in the taking of the oath on the Great Day of the Living in that fateful November hour.
And we might at last look for a time when the representatives of every European country would consider the proposal that Armistice Day should be observed on a date which bears with it no bitter memories, no recollection of humiliated pride and dark distress. It should be observed in the month of November, in that season which, because it belongs to the ending year, evokes thoughts of those departed, so falsely called dead, who in reality have but continued their journey in an all-embracing eternity.
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