Did you happen to pass by Centuries & Sleuths recently? The three dimensional map in the window depicts a rare occurrence from history. The Christmas Truce of 1914 took place in the middle of that devastating war. The soldiers themselves stopped the war for Christmas Eve. The Germans actually initiated it; the Brits went along.
Augie Aleksy researched the event thoroughly and created the 3D representation you see in the window. First the men gathered up the bodies of their fallen comrades and buried them; priests put on their white stoles and administered last rites to the dead. White crosses were erected and Scottish Highlanders played their bagpipes. Once the survivors completed the burial rituals, the men decided to celebrate the holiday with a soccer game.
According to records, the Germans won the game. Then chocolates, wine, beer and schnapps were shared by all. When commanders of both armies heard about this outrageous peace transgression they made sure it would never happen again.
You’ll notice the British side has a “Christmas Truce” marker; the Germans “Weinachtsfrieden.” The German side had three Christmas trees. There were probably more than that but, as Augie said, the young soldiers were probably crying out for something of Christmas that would replace the war.
This truce lasted 24 hours. Hard to believe it even happened. But the events are preserved with letters, journals and diaries of those who experienced it all and also in war records. It happened on Dec. 24-25, 1914.
The Woman Who Was G.K. Chesterton (a love story of Frances and G.K.) by Nancy Carpentier Brown will be discussed at Centuries & Sleuths on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 2 p.m. This event is sponsored by the G.K. Chesterton Society; all are invited to attend and listen.
If you have a birthday this week, best wishes for a happy birthday. Unfortunately, with all the Christmas confusion, I seem to have again misplaced the book. So here’s the best I can do from memory: Happy birthday to Mario Tricoci, Ed Hunter Trieber, Mark Rice, Amy Hocheimer, Rich Gray, Lauren Trage, Caitin Miller, Helen Collis, Janni Jargstorf, Alice and Lara Mellin, Lou Moran, Tom Kloess, Marce Skoda, Ian Hoffman, Danielle Watson, Christine Malone, Joan Huynh, Deb Harris, Lynn Karavitos and Mike Marcantonio.
And a Happy 2017 to everyone.
Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life’s other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side of Chicago in a great neighborhood when it was a great time to be young.