This year, as the ESU of the United States celebrates its 100th Anniversary, the world is dealing with a global pandemic of unparalleled magnitude, cries against racial injustice are echoing throughout our country and across the nations, and at the same time we remember two seminal events that occurred 75 years ago - the day when American, British and Allied forces combined together in Europe to drive the scourge of Nazism from our planet, and the day when nations of good will met together in San Francisco to sign the declaration that marked the establishment of the United Nations.
Far from being remote acts that adorn the pages of history books, both these events of 75 years ago are central and vital to what we are as an organization and both of them have significance as we face a world that has changed rapidly in six months, and shows no sign of reversal. The ties that bind America to the United Kingdom and to Europe, enshrined in the Atlantic Alliance, Nato and countless associations and affiliations that bring us together, are as necessary today as they ever were. Beware those who would decry or undermine bonds forged in blood in defense of liberty, freedom and tolerance. Our links extend far beyond the shores of Europe and, through our international outreach, the ESU is truly global in its desire for peace and fellowship between all people.
This weekend we celebrate the great national holiday of the United States, Independence Day. Justly proud, justly free and justly independent, the American Colonies set a new direction for the world when they eschewed the traditional norms of feudal governance, and broke new ground. As is often said, America is a 'work in progress' and the Black Lives Matter movement is a stark reminder that inequalities and institutionalized brutality still exist in our society. Our willingness as a nation to confront our inner demons and try, however imperfectly, to make things right is an attitude that is enshrined in America's psyche and which we have shared across the world. It was written in the steadfast determination of those brave men and women who fought in Normandy, and it gave life to the UN Declaration.
As the ESU of the US celebrates our first century and as America remembers its 244 years as a nation, let us stand together as an organisation proud of our nation and equally proud of our international ESU family. Together, and across the oceans, we can link arms in fellowship and fearlessly face the brave new world that is upon us!
Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill, CBE, KSt.J