This picture was taken in September 2013, on my trip to Paris, France, in the Hall of Mirrors. This is the room that the Treaty of Versailles was signed in on June 28th, 1919, the official end to the Great War.
World War I changed the world. There were so many advancements in technology and medicine. It literally changed the map as countries and colonies were divided up. Over the course of four years, over 10 million men and women gave their life on a battle field. Over 7 million more civilians gave their life to the war. This war changed homes and left them marred with the pain of empty chairs and cold beds. The destruction left from bombs on infrastructure and shrapnel left in the ground still mark countrysides and towns. In fact, World War I and the economic depression inflicted by the renumeration of the Allied forces lead to the rise of the Nazi regime.
And there, in the ground, on the ground, our countrymen and women still lie. Their blood ran out. Their bodies cold and their minds homeless and their hearts homesick.
So what was it worth? Why did this war matter? Why did these lives matter? Why do these lives matter?
Reasons all seem murky and maybe even like they don't matter. One country invades another. One country's leaders assassinates another country's leader. And above all, the pride, pride. All. The. Pride.
There's really only one word, one value, one principle that would make so many people give their life. One word that made all the loss and all the pain worth it. There's only one word that warms the heart when the bed is cold and one world that binds up the broken heart. There's only one word that has changed history for thousands of years and continues to change history today. One word that describes a value worth fighting for, worth living for, worth dying for...