Eaglie's Aviary

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Some call me a romantic. I say I'm a passionate realist with ideals that are seldom, but sometimes, met.

Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about my heritage. One of the most important parts of that heritage is that my grandfather received an Iron Cross from the German army in WWI for his work driving his cart of wounded off the battlefield, and I don't know if I'll ever know what act actually got him this.

I know men can be honorable, in times of war even. They don't have to pick up guns to do it even, as I can imagine my grandfather didn't. That brings us to one of the greatest legends in the history of Western warfare:

The Christmas Truce

In World War I, some of the bloodiest battles with the most heartache and destruction in our history took place. And to make it worse... it was fought over nothing. Men died because they loved their friends, families, and... their countries. Their kings sent them to war, and they suffered in the trenches for it. This article's pretty good about summing it up, but I will mention a few things.

I know there is legend... but there is truth. People were there. People saw it. Men got to see what a common belief did. A common bond amongst enemies brought many together for a brief day. Christmas and its spirit did something good:

The British accepted the invitation and offered some tobacco as a return present. That evening, at the stated time, German heads suddenly popped up and started to sing. Each number ended with a round of applause from both sides.

The Germans then asked the British to join in. At this point, one very mean-spirited Tommy shouted: 'We'd rather die than sing German.' To which a German joked aloud: 'It would kill us if you did'.

And now, to close up this Christmas Eve post... the Royal Guardsmen:

The Baron had Snoopy dead in his sights
He reached for the trigger to pull it up tight
Why he didn't shoot, well, we'll never know
Or was it the bells from the village below.

Christmas bells those Christmas bells
Ringing through the land
Bringing peace to all the world
And good will to man

The Baron made Snoopy fly to the Rhine
And forced him to land behind the enemy lines
Snoopy was certain that this was the end
When the Baron cried out, "Merry Christmas, my friend"

The Baron then offered a holiday toast
And Snoopy, our hero, saluted his host
And then with a roar they were both on their way
Each knowing they'd meet on some other day.

Christmas bells those Christmas bells
Ringing through the land
Bringing peace to all the world
And good will to man.