My grandfather was in the Army during WWI. To his dismay, he never got to the front lines. He spent most of his time at Fort Lewis, now known as Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, Washington.
He attributed not being sent to Europe due to the fact that he was half German. Although he argued that he would have been of more help overseas, he felt he was kept stateside as a form of detainment.
Gramps was tall, several inches over six feet, and had the stereotypically high German cheekbones. One might make a good case for him looking like a perfect example of Hitler’s “Master Race.”
So 100 years ago, although my patriotic grandfather had enlisted in the military, he was not in Europe on Christmas, 1914. On that day, it is well-documented that near Ypres, Belgium, the British and German troops called a temporary halt to the fighting.
It was a memorable moment in history. The German soldiers emerged from their trenches calling out “Merry Christmas.” They exchanged cigars and cigarettes and were photographed together. There was truly Peace on Earth.
And if we can manage to have peace for one day in the midst of “The War to End all Wars,” then why not today for one month, or one year, or one decade?
Yes, I know. I’m idealistic, naive, even simple-minded when I say, “Why can’t we just all get along?”
Peace on Earth. What a concept!