Learn lessons from history Print
Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

We’ve all heard the saying that if we don’t learn lessons from history, we are in danger of repeating it.

This is especially true for the bad things we’ve experienced. And it seems especially true about our history of violence and war.

This year in August the world marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. The United States dropped bombs on these cities during World War II.

Call for nuclear weapons ban

On the occasion of these tragic anniversaries, Pope Francis repeated the Catholic Church’s call for a ban on nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.

Seventy years later, “this tragic event still gives rise to horror and revulsion,” the pope said August 9 after reciting the “Angelus” with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square, reported Catholic News Service.

The atomic bombings of the two Japanese cities by the United States have become a symbol of “the vast destructive power of human beings when they make distorted use of scientific and technical progress.”

At the same time, he said, the destruction unleashed is a lasting call to humanity to reject war and “ban nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.”

Work for peace

“Most of all, the sad anniversary is a call to pray and work for peace, to spread throughout the world an ethic of brotherhood and a climate of serene coexistence among peoples,” Pope Francis said.

“From every land,” he prayed, “let one voice rise: no to war, no to violence, yes to dialogue, yes to peace!

“The only way to win a war is not to make war,” the pope said.

What we can do

We may think it’s impossible for one person to bring peace into the world. But each of us can make a difference.

I think of the words of the song, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

In an article called “10 Ways to Bring Peace to the World” on, author Susan Skog says, “We can’t wait for someone more powerful or wiser to deliver peace. We are the wise and powerful ones who choose peace in every thought and action.”

She adds, “Global peace is a personal choice, hour by hour. Ask yourself, ‘Am I going to add to the fighting in the world? Or offer up something greater?’”

Let’s respond to the words of Pope Francis by deciding to learn lessons from history and work to be peacemakers in our own lives. It does begin with each and every one of us. Prayer is the first step!