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The Day of Peace

by Robert W. Cely, Jr.

In my dedication for this Memorial Day story I can say it no better than the Master himself: "No man has greater love than this, that he lay his life down for his friends." John 15:13 

John Calloway, the forty-seventh President of the United States, took a deep breath as he surveyed the crowd of people that gathered at the National Mall. There were thousands there facing him, looking up at him, hopeful, eager. Cameras from every news network and channel in America, and hundreds more from across the world zoomed their cameras in on him as he took the podium. This was a day the world would remember forever.
President Calloway looked down at his notes and gathered himself before speaking. He wanted to get everything right. He had to get everything right. This may be the most important moment in all of history. The signing of the Declaration, the discovery of America, the first man on the moon; all of these would pale beside what he was doing right now, what he had already done. This moment may even eclipse the resurrection of Jesus himself, he thought proudly.
“My fellow citizens of the world,” President Calloway began. 
The crowd responded with thunderous applause. They knew what was about to happen. They knew that they were witnessing history. 
“Today we witness a new era in the history of the world,” he continued when the applause died down.
“Today we realize the dreams of every man, woman and child who has ever dreamed of a world without war and hatred. Today we realize the dream of world peace.”
The crowd erupted again, carried by the tide of enthusiasm. President Calloway paused and let the moment soak in. After all, he did deserve it.
“It’s been a long road. It’s been a long fight. So many lives taken in pointless wars. So many soldiers dead and buried, and for what? So selfish and greedy men could have a little bit more money and power.”
The crowd agreed with more applause.
“When I began my first term, my wife and I were talking. It was exactly seven years ago today. You see, before I took office, we would celebrate Memorial Day by remembering and thanking men and women for dying for their country.”
Boos rose up from the crowd at this remembrance. The President nodded his head in commiseration.
“I know, I know,” he said. “That’s the exact thought Janice and I had. What are we doing on Memorial Day, by celebrating that people have died in war? We’re celebrating war, that’s what we’re doing. And I had the thought. It was a revelation, a message from God. ‘How can we live in a world of peace, when we constantly celebrate war?’”
The crowd announced its approval by more cheers and applause. The President nodded his head and listened as the crowd celebrated their love of peace.
“And what began with a commitment to no longer celebrate men and women slaughtered senselessly in senseless warfare, ends today, culminates today with the institution of world peace.
“Yes, you heard that right. All of you. World peace.”
When the applause rose this time, the President kept talking, raising his voice to be heard over the cheers and accolades.
“I say that to all the war mongers. I say that to all the gun lovers. I say that for those who stir up strife and violence. I say that to those who cry and moan that we need armies. To those who say we need weapons. To those who say we need guns. This I say to you today and I want you to hear me loud and clear: We don’t need guns, and we don’t need weapons, and we don’t need armies. What we need is peace.”
The cheers eclipsed in the mad rush of ecstasy. The President held wide his arms and encouraged the celebration. He deserved it. They all deserved it.
“You know, people always said that world peace was impossible. But it’s amazing what you can achieve when you believe in an idea, and you’re committed to that idea. You can do anything. And we stand today as a living testament to that truth.
“Just think for a minute what we’ve accomplished in these seven years. It started by ending that morbid celebration of Memorial Day and replacing it with a Day of Peace. That was the start. A big one, but a start. Then, the rest of the world, seeing our dedication to peace, started to join us.
“We inspired the world. You inspired the world with your commitment to peace. And when the world realized that we would be leaders not in weapons and bombs and intimidation, but understanding and kindness, they took notice. They took notice and miracles began to happen.
“All on their own, Russia and China offered disarmament. Total disarmament. Not just nuclear or tactical weapons, total, absolute and complete disarmament. We have thrown down our weapons, we have thrown down our guns. And we will study war no more!”
The applause came again, unrestrained, jubilant.	
“Just moments ago I signed into law the International Peace Act with the Premiers of China and Russia. Together, we have disbanded the Army. We have disbanded the Navy. We have disbanded the Marines, the Coast Guard, the Reserves, the National Guard. We have outlawed guns. We have ordered the dismantling of all our planes and bombs. Armies are no more. And it all began because we were brave enough, and wise enough to stop celebrating a holiday of war and massacre. Today, the biggest armies of the world have disbanded. Today, wars of the world have come to an end. Today, I declare to you, to be known now and forever after, as the Day of Peace.”
The roar that erupted from the crowd was deafening. The pool on the National Mall rippled with the sound. Couples kissed, old folks cried. President Calloway himself felt the tears pooling in his own eyes. They had done it. They had won.
He signaled for the crowd to silence again. He had one more thing to say.
“Real quickly, let me say this,” he began. “Real quick, and then the real party can begin.”
He paused as the crowd quieted down. Somewhere in the distance he could hear a low rumble, like the sound of a large machine. He wondered what it was for a moment, then put the sound out of his head.
“We have done much,” he continued. “But there is more to do. There is still inequality and injustice in our own nation, in our own communities. There are the rich and the mighty on top, and below them are the poor and powerless.”
The rumble grew louder now. He could even hear it over the sound of his speech. It grew in pitch until it began to consume the crowd. Heads turned and looked around them, above.
“As long as there is any inequality in the world, we have work to do,” the President tried to go on despite the growing roar of noise.
“As long as there is a single child who goes hungry, we have work to do. As long as there is a single family who struggles to pay the bills, we have work to do. As long as there is a single mother who cries over....”
The words trailed off as the President looked past the crowd, and saw in the skies above the source of the growing noise. His mouth hung open in shock and disbelief. Heads in the crowd turned to see what he was seeing. People cried out in fear. A surge of panic began to move through the crowd.
President Calloway grew cold. It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t be. This was the day. This was the day it would all happen. This was the day he would make history.
A disturbing thought passed through his mind as President Calloway watched the bombers soar overhead, each one emblazoned with the Chinese flag. 
“You are making history,” the thought said. “You will be remembered forever as the fool who gave America away.”

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