Rotary’s Great Day

Rotary’s Great Day
The atomic bomb has shattered selfish complacency;
Now all men must learn the art of living together.
By Paul P. Harris
atomic bomb pictureWE INHABITANTS of this planet have been as Alpinists scaling a mountain. Throughout the bruising, tortuous climb, we have said again and again: "The peak is up there somewhere. It is just beyond the next shoulder. Up packs! On trail!" And so we struggled on, inching upward. Now at last we have attained the summit, but short of breath, light of head, and blind from glare, we cannot see the view for which we made this perilous expedition.

Peace has come and yet we cannot fully sense it. The deep significance of victory is obscured. We are as if stunned by the impact of fact on preconceived theory. Perhaps a look back down the trail will help us orient ourselves on this strange new height.

In 20 short, tumultuous weeks we have seen war end in Europe, have watched peace‑loving men of 50 nations pour foundations for a structure to keep world peace, have heard Prussian militarism banished at Potsdam, have shuddered and prayed as science plucked from the tree of knowledge new death‑dealing devices, have seen the great power of Eurasia enter the Eastern arena, and at long, long last have seen the last disturber of international peace defeated and humble. Were there ever in history 20 weeks like these? Never!

But enough of looking back. Already the mists on our mountain top are lifting. It is time we adjust our eyes to the new light. And what do we see? Looming near and obvious is the fact that for the first time in five years - yes, in a decade - the guns of every army in the world are quiet. We see, or rather feel, total absence of war. The silence is strange and unreal - but how welcome. Here and there we note a cynic rising to mouth the ancient shibboleth that war has always been and always will be, but we take a measure of hope from the fact that his despairing preachments arouse little enthusiasm.

But do we not see something more as we peer at the panorama of peace? Yes! We see a family of 2 billion members which, by the grace of a God whose patience must long ago have worn thin, has won a new chance at getting along with itself. We see, too, that the family has learned, at the cost of millions of its beloved sons and billions of its treasure, that it is a family, that all men are God's children, that they share one world. We see the ideal of the brotherhood of man given standing in countries of great power and countries of no power. We see that ideal acknowledged as the only kind of cement that can, in the final stress, hold the nations together.

But for all its hidden crevasses and sheer adamantine walls, what a dazzling prospect is before us! Men may live and die in peace with each other. Business and industry, science and the arts, religion and philosophy - to what heights can they not rise in the years ahead. In all this Rotarians cannot fail to rejoice. This new and convincing resolve that men can get along with other men is of the very essence of Rotary. For 40 long years Rotarians have been fostering international understanding and goodwill through a world‑wide fellowship of business and professional men united in the ideal of service.

Of the thousands of matters on which we of so diverse a complexion disagree, there is one on which we are in perfect accord. We believe in the brotherhood of man, and in that cause we unite our efforts, gaining in respect for and love of our fellow workers. In the harmonious unity that welds our 5,470 Clubs in some 60 different nations together, Rotary International itself offers a preview of a world at peace.

So I appeal to every one of our 248,000 Rotarians around the world to back up the United Nations in their efforts to advance the cause of peace. Our Rotary has had many years of experience in the field of human relations and must turn its experience and its mighty influence to telling account. This is our day, fellow Rotarians. This is our Great Day! Let us make the most of it. Let us use our influence in the promotion of tolerance of all forms of religious and political ideologies, centering the efforts of all nations on the one transcendent purpose of doing away with international lawlessness and creating a world of unity and lasting peace.

THE time was when the warm fellowship of a Rotary Club - the kind of fellowship that melts the icy barriers on Main Street and fuses a community - was a luxury. One could get along without it. Today - in this age of death‑dealing devices which could make moles of all humankind - that brand of fellowship blanketing the earth is a vital necessity.

Come now, Rotarians of 60 nations, ambassadors of goodwill. Lift high your voices. Peace on earth, goodwill to men.

Dr. Wolfgang Ziegler

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