In the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations, we read these words:
“We the Peoples of the United Nations, Determined
“to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
“to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small….”
The Preamble of the Charter sets out a description of the UN’s values as well as its purpose for being.
It occurs to me that in our modern era, which is often characterized by doubt and despair — and even cynicism — about the future of our nation and the world, it is appropriate for us to focus on the reaffirmation of faith that was expressed by the founders of the United Nations in 1945.
When the UN came into being on October 24, 1945, the world was reeling from the horrors of World War Two. The delegates to the first General Assembly had survived the worst war in human history — including genocide, carpet bombing, mass executions, and the unleashing of the atomic bomb.
The men and women of that generation might have been tempted to retreat behind their national borders, to throw up high walls, and to prepare for perpetual conflict.
But, the fact is, they were convinced that there was no security in isolationism. They were persuaded of the need for all nations, large and small, to unite their strength, and — as stated later in the Preamble — “to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.”
Today, we are challenged by contemporary problems that require a global response — international terrorism, various forms of human trafficking, nuclear proliferation, and the threat of climate catastrophes.
I think we can learn from the experience of our forebears who chose to work cooperatively together, to unite their strength, and to have faith in the fundamental rights and dignity of the human person.