Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12-21-11 Christmas Song(s) of the Day #21: Silent Night

The song that was part of the Christmas Truce of 1914. It's one of those stories you hear and immediately disbelieve. (That's probably why Snopes has a very long page devoted to it.)

Freezing weather had swept through the trenches on Christmas Eve, solidifying the bogs of trenches where soldiers sat, frustrated, angry, having believed that surely the war would have ended and they would have been home by now. The First World War is only four months old. They have no way of knowing the years, and the millions of lives, that will be lost before it is done.

And on that night, the German soldiers, who traditionally celebrate their Christmas on the 24th, began lighting candles and singing. The British ears picked up the tune and began singing along. The song was Silent Night. And in the hours to follow the soldiers laid down their arms and met in no man's land, to peacefully bury their unreachable dead, to sit about campfires and share their meager Christmas presents with men who were, for one brief, shining moment, no longer their enemy, but simply men, far from home, on Christmas Eve.

The story is true.

You can read excerpts from some of the soldiers there that night here.


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