[Editor: This article, or open letter, by “Eve”, regarding Armistice Day (later known as Remembrance Day), appeared in the “Domain of Woman” section (“conducted by “Eve””), published in the Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser (Maryborough, Qld.), 14 November 1933.]
An open letter.
Does it seem possible that fifteen years can have passed since on November 11th the glorious news of an armistice went round the world, and we breathed freely after four heart-wrung years to know that the long warfare was over? In fifteen years, however, a new generation is coming towards the front, a generation which only knows by hearsay of the agony of endurance, and bereavement behind the great victory, and it is ours to bring again and yet again the picture before those young eyes, lest it seem to them a small matter of history, a theme of song or story.
Just as Wordsworth, listening to the Highland maid singing to herself as she reaped the corn, wondered what her music was about, whether it dealt
“With old forgotten, far off things,
And battles long ago.”
“A simpler sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again.”
So the new generations crowding on our heels must be told afresh the story of the long campaign, and enlisted on the side of those who are resolved there shall be no more war.
When the children of Israel passed over Jordan, Joshua instructed the head of each tribe to take a great stone, so that a cairn might be erected on the bank. Then, when in the years to come, the children would ask “What mean you by these stones?” the parents would tell again the tale of the great deliverance. So with us, we should keep Anzac Day and Armistice Day in perpetual memory, that, at least on these two occasions, in each year, we should bring before our children a great sacrifice, and a great deliverance, making them realise what lies behind the glamour and pageantry of war.
The world, as Philip Gibbs who wrote the “Soul of the War” and saw perhaps more of its inner workings than any other, says, is quaking and shivering as does the earth round a live volcano — a breath, an inadvised action might precipitate war. But it lies in the power of every one of us to put his or her weight in the scale which leans on the side of peace.
Thought is power, and if the world thought was guided to peace, if the Sermon on the Mount was the chart of every nation’s ship of state, then there could nevermore be war. Christ is still the Prince of Peace and if we follow Him, then love will rule our lives. We will bring up our children in a national atmosphere of friendliness and toleration, and seek a better plan of settling disputes than an appeal to arms.
Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser (Maryborough, Qld.), 14 November 1933, p. 8
Him = in a religious context, and capitalized, a reference to God or Jesus
What mean you by these stones? = in general terms, a quotation regarding a query about a memorial or a marker of significance; the quotation comes from Joshua 4:6 in the Bible (“That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?”), regarding a time when God instructed Joshua (and through him, the Israelites) to erect a pile of stones as a memorial to mark the day that the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River and into Canaan
See: 1) Jeremy M. Hutton, “The Jordan River in Israelite History”, Bible Odyssey
2) Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “What Mean These Stones?”, MLJ Trust
3) “Jordan River”, Wikipedia
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]
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