A Day to Remember

This is the 71st in a collection of newspaper ads written by Harry Gray, then CEO of United Technologies, that appeared in the Wall Street Journal from the late 1970s through the early 1980s. Here is the text from that ad.

If one day were singled out as the most important day of the 20th Century, a good nominee would be May 8, 1945.
V-E Day.
That day Hitler’s was machine was stopped.
Forty years later we can look back on the longest period in 1,000 years that European nations have not been at war with each other.
All people want peace.
But there is no automatic passport to peace.
The peace of appeasement resulted in World War II.
A former President of the U.S. gave priceless advice to everyone who wants to live in peace;
Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Here’s a little historical background.

Victory in Europe Day, generally known as V-E Day, VE Day or simply V Day was the public holiday celebrated on 8 May 1945 to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces. It thus marked the end of World War II in Europe.

As to the speak softly quote, that comes from a West African proverb: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far”. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt used the phrase to describe his style of foreign policy as “the exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis”.

Beyond the brief history lesson the phrase that sticks out the most to me is,

All people want peace.”

That may be true, but we certainly don’t always act that way.