Europe, Christmas Eve., 1914
At 8:30 p.m. an officer of the Royal Irish Rifles reported to headquarters: “Germans have illuminated their trenches, are singing songs and wishing us a Happy Xmas. Compliments are being exchanged but am nevertheless taking all military precautions.” Further along the line, the two sides serenaded each other with carols—the German “Silent Night” being met with a British chorus of “The First Noel“—and scouts met, cautiously, in no man’s land, the shell-blasted waste between the trenches. The war diary of the Scots Guards records that a certain Private Murker “met a German Patrol and was given a glass of whisky and some cigars, and a message was sent back saying that if we didn’t fire at them, they would not fire at us.”
This is something that made a huge impression on me when I was very young, and first.read about it.
As honorable men, and soldiers, both sides looked behind and saw what the first 5 months of the war had left.
They looked forward at what lay before them, the cratered landscape strewn with the bodies of their comrades, in the space between their respective trenches.
Then they looked beyond that, and if only for a short time they all saw, and chose to do, what they wished life could and should be.
By my time here in Idaho, that occurred 19 minutes ago, Christmas Eve 1914, .