A Moment of Peace

New Crown Book 3 (Heisei 24) pg. 100-103

We were face to face with the German army. We were close enough to hear each other. Sometimes we called to each other a morning greeting. Sometimes we listened to the cries of the sick and wounded. Each day the fighting started again. We were close enough to be friends, but the war made us enemies.
The afternoon of December 24, the Germans decorated a tree. It was Christmas Eve, even on a battlefield. I was close enough to see the shining candles on the tree.

The Germans started singing "Silent Night". When they finished, we sang "Home, Sweet Home". That night, the two armies exchanged songs until darkness came. Then silence fell.

The next day was Christmas. A German soldier called out, "Happy Christmas!" I shouted back, "Same to you!"
Later, a German soldier appeared. He was waving a white flag. Then another stood up. He was holding a bottle. "It's Christmas Day. We have wine and sausages. Please join us."
I turned to my friend Paul.
"Is it a trick?" I asked.
"Who knows? Who cares? It's Christmas," Paul shrugged and stood up.
With that, the two armies met on the battlefield, for peace, not war.

A German approached me. We shook hands. "My name's Abel. I'm a clerk at a hotel." "My name's Sam. I'm a teacher. Happy Christmas." He showed me his family's photo. We exchanged addresses.
One of the Germans was a barber. He gave some of us haircuts. We were very glad and thanked him. Paul knew some magic tricks. He delighted all of us, Germans and British.
We shared drinks and food. There was a lot of talking and laughing. I took some photos.
Then someone brought out a football. The game began and lasted for some time.

The wonderful time passed quickly. As the sun set and the stars came out, everyone knew it was over.
"Bye now. Take care," I said to Abel.
"Same to you," he said to me.
I waved to Abel one last time as a friend.

The next day we were enemies again. Friends from the day before shot at and killed each other. Many were wounded, many died.
But I will always remember that special moment of friendship. The impossible thing happened. Armies met in peace, not war.

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