"In dreams begin responsibility" - Delmore Schango
In the colophon, X-Men Group Editor Bob Harras addresses the fans about the nature of hate and why the X-Men are so beloved even after (at that time) thirty years. Harras contrasts the hate and fear the X-Men fight against seemingly every issue with the love the fans have for them, their setting, and even their enemies: love is the great counter to hate - love, and the hope the followers of Xavier's dream for a better world. The hope the X-Men fight with (and for) is why the X-Men are the most human and their comics the most meaningful.
Inside the issue, written as a dramatic monologue, Professor Charles Xavier reflects on the history of his X-Men and the mutant world beginning with their inception and first battle with Magneto and ending with his mindwipe of Magneto from the Fatal Attractions crossover, the marriage of Cyclops and Phoenix, and the beginning of Generation X.
From the beginning, Xavier is forced to acknowledge that his life and his dream are full of tensions: the X-Men have to fight for peace; the original X-Men Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, Angel, and Marvel Girl are truly "gifted youngsters," and "while other teenagers frolicked and fell in love, the X-Men fought for justice" - a responsibility almost too much for them. Their training was put into practice too soon, as they fought Magneto and then his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and Xavier's half-brother Juggernaut. Such encounters taught Xavier that trust was going to be the necessary ingredient for humans and mutants to relinquish their mutual hate and fear. Bolivar Trask's Sentinels are a key example of the hate humans have for mutants and the cost the X-Men had to pay to fight for justice, sacrificing "normal lives." Such constant battle, though, helped them become a team and mature, only to have them fall to Krakoa and Xavier need to recruit a new generation of X-Men.
Xavier notes there was more than mere symbolism involved with the new team of Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus, Wolverine, Thunderbird, Banshee, and Sunfire rescuing the old: it was a new day and the hatred and danger of the world was even more perilous. The Sentinels were back, the world was a more connected place (seen in their adventures with Ka-Zar in the Savage Land and Alpha Flight in Canada), and bigger sacrifices were needed. Marvel Girl became Phoenix then sacrificed herself to save Lilandra and the Shi'Ar, devastating Cyclops and breaking up the old team. Apocalypse transformed Angel into Archangel. With Storm in charge, new mutants joined the ranks such as Rogue, Psylocke, Gambit, Jubilee, and Bishop. Nothing was the same anymore.
Even when miracles such as the return of Jean Grey occurred, they always seemed to come with danger - Magneto returned as well. Magneto's extraction of Wolverine's adamantium for Xavier was his own breaking point - by attacking and mind-wiping Magneto, in a sense Xavier had become what he had always fought against, embodying another of the tensions of his life by destroying another to prevent harm from coming to those he loved. Xavier's reflections close with the joy of seeing Scott and Jean finally married, the hope that Magneto was finally vanquished, and the hope of the next generation of new mutants Generation X being taught by Banshee: "I can't help believing that my X-Men, my dream ... had come full circle."
The issue ends with four small black and white pin-ups: X-Men Blue Team, X-Factor, X-Force, and Excalibur.