Don Bennett’s Epilogue

 

The following was written by Don Bennett when chairman of the UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION, of which he was founder. It was found amongst his archives following his death.

 

"In time of war, men strive and men die for the protection of their country and their loved ones and for the ideals in which they believe. No sacrifice is too great and no ordeal too bitter to deter the tide of human effort towards victory.

Indeed, in the agony and squalor of war, man reaches his true greatness – but it is only when peace comes that there exists the conditions in which the ideals for which we fought can be achieved.

I have seen two great Wars in my lifetime and after each I have seen the political leaders of almost every country in the world fritter away the opportunities which their warriors have created for them. After each war, I have seen the return of pessimism and of distrust – and the vitiation of human relations by intrigue, fear, greed and dishonesty.

Moral standards in matters great and small have sunk appallingly to impossible levels. In short, man in peace has proved unworthy of the dead of two World Wars.

This need not be. We are the same men and women who fought beside those who died. We are of the same stuff which achieved greatness in time of war. Therefore in peace, let us pray and think – and act as aggressively and courageously as we did in war, so that we may achieve freedom, fair play, decency and integrity internationally, nationally and personally – which the sacrifices of two World Wars so nobly earned."

Air Vice Marshal Don Bennett CB, CBE, DSO was a fine leader and the youngest Royal Air Force commander in WWII. He founded the Pathfinder Force which led to effective operations by Bomber Command. His ashes lie beneath the RAF and Allied Air Forces Monument.