On Christmas morning we stuck up a board with "A Merry Christmas" on it. The enemy had stuck up a similar one. . . . Two of our men then threw their equipment off and jumped on the parapet with their hands above their heads. Two of the German done the same and commenced to walk up the river bank, our two men going to meet them. They met and shook hands and then we all got out of the trench. . . .During the truce, soldiers exchanged gifts, held joint burial services for the dead, prayed together and sang Christmas carols ("Silent Night" was a carol both the British and the Germans knew), shared dinner, and even played soccer with improvised balls.
To commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of this extraordinary event on history, Sainsbury's, a major supermarket chain in the United Kingdom, created a reenactment of the Christmas Truce for its holiday commercial. The commercial drew a firestorm of criticism for being inappropriate, inaccurate, and exploiting emotions in order to boost sales, but it was endorsed by the Royal British Legion and defended by a military historian, who called it "a respectful short film that would have earned the approval of the soldiers it portrays."
The film is on YouTube. Click here to watch it for yourself.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CAROLE OSTERINK