This weekend we are celebrating Veterans Day, a day on which we honor all American veterans of all wars. On Nov. 11, 1918, at 11 a.m., the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Armistice was signed which ended World War I. One elderly man being interviewed about that day in 1918 said, “Celebrating the end of the fighting, we felt sure that there would never be another war.”
As we pay tribute to the men and women of our armed forces, we still dream of the day when the people of our world shall live together in peace and wars will be no more.
Years ago a boy in Russia buried a little green stick on the bank of the Volga River. Running home, he told his little brother what he had done. “It has a great secret on it,” he said. “When men know the secret on my little green stick they will not quarrel or be angry with one another again.”
Leo Tolstoy wanted to know the answer. All along the river he searched for the little green stick his brother had buried. He never found it, but for the rest of his life he tried to guess the secret.
Down through the centuries many people have looked for an answer. War and peace stands out as the greatest challenge of our day. The secret on the little green stick—what was it?
In South America there are two countries that are side by side of each other. Argentina lies along the Atlantic; Chile lies along the Pacific. Between the two tower the Andes Mountains.
Years ago war broke out between the two nations over a boundary dispute. You see the Andes are covered with snow the year round. It is almost impossible to tell where the boundary of one country ends and the other begins. Each country thought the worst of the other.
Bishop Benavente of Argentina felt the war was wrong. Fighting and killing was evil even with wicked people, but the people of Chile were their friends.
On Easter Sunday the people crowded the churches. The bishop preached as he had never preached before. Everyone said he seemed inspired of God. Indeed, he was. God was speaking through him to the people.
As a result the rulers of the two countries placed the dispute before the king of England for arbitration. His envoys examined the boundary and found that each country was partly right and each was partly wrong. A new boundary was drawn and peace was restored. What a lesson the two countries had learned. From their guns and cannons they molded a statue of Christ twenty-six feet high.
Today The Christ of the Andes stands at the top of the mountain range on a granite hemisphere. The left hand supports a cross and the right hand is raised in benediction over the two countries.
Engraved at the base of the monument are these words: “Sooner shall these mountains crumble into dust than the people of Argentina and Chile break the peace sworn at the feet of Christ the Redeemer.” Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.