On Christmas Day a century ago, at several locations along the Western Front of the World War I conflict, soldiers from both sides of the Great War emerged from trenches to meet in peace and camaraderie in no-man’s-land: the war-torn spaces between the opposing trenches. In the days leading up to Christmas, troops on both sides had sometimes joined in singing Christmas carols, the melodies rising to mix in the frigid air over the battlefield.
When Christmas Day dawned, instead of exchanging artillery barrages and bayonet charges, they traded handshakes, gifts, and holiday wishes. One location even enjoyed a friendly game of soccer.
Briefly, on a European battlefield where death and bitterness had reigned supreme, there was peace on earth and good will toward men. Though it was for only a day—a Christmas Day—hatred gave way to recognition of humanity’s brotherhood. [Read more…]