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by Wayne Blank
"Peace Back Home"
My mother was born in Belgium, literally in the middle of the First World War, in time (the war began 2 years before she was born, and ended when she was 2 years old) and place (my mother was a Flemish-Belgian, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium that she was from is known as Flanders, a place name well-known to many from John McCrae's Remembrance Day poem In Flanders Fields). I learned to speak Dutch from her, and ironically, I also learned to speak German because of my father's side of the family - "Blank" is a German name (e.g. the Berlin telephone directory has about 3 pages of Blanks).
Just after the war ended, my grandfather took his young family, his wife and 3 children, one of whom was my mother, and came to Canada. His brother also came with them, with his family - they later went to the US, thereby giving me my American-born cousins in Illinois today (my American-born cousins in Pennsylvania are from my father's side of the family; my Canadian-born cousin in Maine went to the US in the late 1960s because he wanted to fight in the Vietnam War, which he did - he returned and has now raised an American-born family in the US). My grandfather raised his family in Canada, lived his life as a Canadian, but after over 50 years in Canada he got "home sick" and went back to Belgium in the 1970s. He died after living there many more years, almost reaching age 100, and is buried in the small Belgian town where he was born, not far from the English Channel and the North Sea. He wanted to go back "home" because home was then at peace.
There are millions of people today who would like to go home, even if "home" is somewhere that they've never actually been. But they can't because of wars that have been started by an aggressor, thereby forcing others to fight in wars that always kill more non-combatants than enemy soldiers e.g. a recent published estimate of civilian casualties in Iraq is 100,000 old men / women / children / infants.
The good news (Gospel literally means good news) is that war is going to end and "Remembrance Day" will truly be about wars of the past, not merely remembering wars of the past while more wars are happening. People are going to be able to go home to a land of peace, wherever their home is, because all of the world will truly be at peace.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of The Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of The Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion [see Who, What or Where Is Zion?] shall go forth the law, and the word of The Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:2-4 KJV)
Fact Finder: What is going to be the war that will end all wars?