During the first Christmas of World War One, British and German soldiers called a temporary truce and met between the trenches to sing carols, exchange meager gifts, and celebrate their commonly held Christian faith and Christmas Day.
This was the Christmas Truce of 1914.
It started in the dark of night on Christmas Eve 1914. British soldiers, crouched in their trenches, heard “Stille Nacht” (Silent Night) being sung in the German trenches across the way. The British then sang a carol in response.
The New York Times published journal entries of soldiers who took part in the truce. Rifleman Graham Williams of the Fifth London Rifle Brigade described this moment in the night as one that was full of hope and anticipation:
Suddenly lights began to appear along the German parapet, which were evidently makeshift Christmas trees, adorned with lighted candles, which burnt steadily in the still, frosted air! … First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until we started up “O Come, All Ye Faithful” the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn [in Latin]. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary things–two nations both signing the same carol in the middle of a war.
After this, voices from the German side screamed, “Don’t shoot,” and from the British side the call, “No shooting,” came up as well. Then a German soldier crawled out of the trenches and walked across no man’s land to meet a British soldier who had crawled out of his trench and was doing the same. They shook hands and soon no man’s land was filling with men from both sides who were pouring out of their trenches to say, “Merry Christmas.”
They exchanged what meager gifts they had, laughed, and even played a game of soccer in the light of Christmas Day.
Christmas Day also marked a joint Christmas service wherein prayers were spoken and psalms were read while “Germans formed up one side, the English the other, the officers standing in front, every head bared.”
As the sun set on Christmas Day, so set the Christmas Truce. It ended officially once December 26 arrived.
Breitbart News would like to wish a Merry Christmas to our troops in 2013. God bless you all.
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