MOST of the seats in the auditorium were filled by bright-faced youngsters—boys just old enough to borrow their father's ties, and girls the age of trying out lipstick and piled-up hair.
They listened wisely when the speaker mentioned Hitler and Mussolini. But when he recalled "Guernica, Barcelona, Granada, the battle of the Ebro, the fight for the Spanish Republic," they widened their eyes and looked at each other, puzzled.
They didn't know the story of the Spanish Republic the first European battleground against fascist aggression, where World War II could have been prevented. They didn't know Hitler's first blow was struck in Spain ten years ago, and they grew a little restless as the meeting wore on.
It wouldn't have mattered at all if, leaving the meeting, you could think: They don't have to go through that again. But you couldn't.
You could only think: These kids may have to learn the meaning of other names, other battles…Salonika, Larissa, Sparta, Corinth, Athens…They must learn these names now, before they become the names of lost battles.
We've already fought one war so that one generation could grow up in peace. But in Greece, children die of disease and starvation and stray bullets. Bullets made in America. Those bullets endanger American children, too.