This past weekend, Dick and I went to Symphony Hall with two of our grandchildren to enjoy the Boston Pops. Among the highlights of the festive holiday performance was a reading by Karen MacDonald of A Soldier’s Carol: The Christmas Truce of 1914. Through a combination of music and story, the nine-minute narration recreated the events of the truce that occurred on Flanders Fields 100 years ago this Christmas.
In 1914, during the first Christmas of WWI, British, French and German troops engaged in an impromptu suspension of the horrors of mud and death amongst the 400-hundred-odd miles of trenches on the Western Front.
As Boston-based actor Karen MacDonald narrates to the audience, “Imagine a landscape of mud. Nothing but mud, as far as the eye can see. A no-man’s land of black rats and unrelenting rain, barbed wire and the shapes of fallen soldiers.”
A lone German soldier stands and starts to sing. Then wary and unarmed, his enemies slowly join in. Throughout Christmas Eve and into Christmas Day the soldiers come out of their trenches to help bury one another’s dead, to play football and to exchange gifts. Read more here from the WSJ on this little-known, spontaneous interlude of WWI, which would resume the next day and continue for another four brutal years.
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