Summer in Japan is hot and. , it’s a great season for local festivals, trips to the beach, high school baseball, girls in yukata, ice cream, and summer romance!
This summer is special, though. Why? Because it marks the 100th anniversary of theof World War I. The First World War began in 1914 and ended in 1918. It was a terrible tragedy that Europe, a generation and led to the deaths of 16 million people.
Why should we care about a conflict that happened 100 years ago? What has a long-ago war got to do with us here in the 21st century?
The past is important because itthe present. If we want a better tomorrow, we have to understand how the events of yesterday today. Learning from wars of the past can help us work towards a peaceful future.
World War I was awar with multiple causes ― aggressive nationalism, conflicts, an expensive , and , military societies, bad leaders and a complex web of that pushed nations to disaster.
When warin August 1914, millions of young men were sent to the to fight, kill and die for their countries. One of them was my grandfather.
Harold Innis began life as a country boy on a small farm in Canada. He was a smart young man with anmind who liked politics, economics and history. Through hard work, struggle and sacrifice, he enter university and dreamed of becoming a college professor. All that changed with World War I.
My grandfather was sent off to France to fight against Germany. His life quickly became aof guns and bombs, fear and death, and . As a soldier , he saw friends killed, companions injured and survivors sent home with broken bodies and lives.
Finally, it was his turn. Hebadly when a German bomb exploded. Amazingly, his friends congratulated him. “Lucky guy! You’re injured but alive. You get to leave the war while we have to stay here and die. We you!”
My grandfather spent eight months in hospital. It took seven years for his wounds to. But his friends were right. He was lucky. He survived World War I when many others didn’t.
My grandfather hated war for the rest of his life ― itsviolence, the of innocent lives, the meaningless deaths of his friends, the of old men sending young men to die for “honor” and “glory.”
After the war, hehis dream and became a university professor. He later went on to become a famous in Canada. But he never forgot the horrors of war. And neither should we.
The Japan Times ST: August 22, 2014