Today, Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.
My grandfather fought in that war. My father was badly injured in World War 2 only 20 years later. Had they and tens of millions of others not fought, our world would be very different today.
All of the victims had a story that was similar to each other – and to ours 100 years later:
They were mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and friends – just like us.
They loved and did their best at whatever it was they did – just like us.
They didn’t start the war. But they fought – for themselves, their families, and the generations that would follow – us.
Today we can’t get through a day without another story of “Us vs Them”. It matters not where you look: the Middle East, America, Europe with Brexit, Russia. The story is always about what makes us different not what we have in common.
So let’s start a new wave, beginning this 100th Remembrance Day, on behalf of my grandfather, father, and all those who have died or been injured defending our freedom in the century since.
If you haven’t done so yet, stop and have a moment of silence for the people who gave their lives. You may not have known them, but you owe them. We all do.
Second, tell someone that you’re grateful for what they do… for their story, whatever that is. A clerk in a store. An Uber driver. A stranger in the park. Your teacher, mother, father, sister, brother, boss, or the person at the next desk. Ask them what their story is if you don’t know them, listen, and say thank you. Do this again tomorrow and the next day and the next until it becomes a habit.
Their story and yours are likely more similar than they are different. And, like you, they’re just doing their best in an often difficult world.
Our stories are what connect us as a human being. The more we understand each other’s stories, the better the chance that there will never be a World War 3.
Thank you all for your stories.