May the spirit of love be with you and all your loved ones. Here's a true story I wanted to share today:
It was Christmas Eve, 1914. After four months of fighting, more than a million men had perished in bloody conflict. The bodies of dead soldiers were scattered between the trenches of Europe, frozen in the snow. Belgian, German, French, British and Canadian troops were dug-in so close that they could easily exchange shouts.
Lt. Kurt Zehmisch, a German soldier who had been a schoolteacher in Leipzig, blew a two-fingered whistle toward the British trenches. To the delight of Zehmisch’s Saxon regiment, the Brits whistled back. Some of the Germans who had worked in England before the war shouted greetings across the battlefield in English.
On the Allied side, the Brits watched in amazement as candle-lit Christmas trees began to appear atop German trenches. The glowing trees soon appeared along the length of the German front.
Henry Williamson, a young soldier with the London Regiment wrote in his diary: “From the German parapet, a rich baritone voice had begun to sing a song I remembered my German nurse singing to me.... The grave and tender voice rose out of the frozen mist. It was all so strange... like being in another world — to which one had come through a nightmare.”
... “They finished their carol and we thought that we ought to retaliate,” another British soldier wrote, “So we sang The First Noël and when we finished, they all began clapping. And they struck up O Tannebaum and on it went... until we started up O Come All Ye Faithful [and] the Germans immediately joined in .... this was really a most extraordinary thing — two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”
Continue reading the remarkable story of The Christmas Truce.