A hundred years ago today on June 28, 1914 “the shot heard round the world” was fired. 19 year old, Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Duchess Sophia while eating a sandwich. I am guessing it was cevapi ,purchased at a nearby deli. That shot delivered from a 19 year old extremist who wanted to see a “greater Serbia” created along ethnic lines was the beginning of World War 1- “ The war to end all wars”.

100 hundred years have passed, the wars have not ended, and many of the battles have remained the same. Nations feud over imaginary lines they call boarders that can not be seen from the sky. Neighbors kill neighbors because of the spelling of their name or their place of worship. Government corruption runs rampant across the globe, the poor are marginalized, and women’s bodies are abused and sacrificed for the purposes of ethnic cleansing and torture. The last 100 hundred years have been a bloody mess, but the next 100 hundred don’t have to be.

Humanity is not stagnant it is ever evolving. Forty –seven years ago it was against the law for a interracial couple to marry in the United States. The Supreme Court legalized oral contraception for married women in 1965, but it was until 1972 that it was legalized for single women. It wasn’t until 1973 that women were allowed in to enlist in all branches of the military. The civil rights act was signed 50 years ago. 2013 DOMA was overturned by the Supreme Court a decision guaranteeing that legally married same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal benefits as married opposite sex couples. Things are not perfect but they have certainly evolved in the last fifty years. 

Individuals not governments create change. You and I will write the future history now with our actions. We can go from a century of violet conflict to centuries of peace. It won’t be easy but it can happen and it all starts with education, access to food , water, shelter, and a vigilant and never ending dedication to eradicating global poverty.

Instead of a century dominated with political catch phrases like “axis of evil” lets write in the history books that this next century will be filled with “access to opportunity” and we live with peace and compassion that will indeed end all wars.