The Great War

A wonderful moment in time...

Although one of the deadliest wars in history, WWI had only been raging for 120 days when men were being slaughtered at a record pace.  Death and bodies were everywhere, with men being shot after having barely escaped the cold of the previous night covered in mud.  Soldiers faced each other in wet trenches that were at some points no more than 50 yards apart.  Like clockwork, men would rise, climb the ladder out of the trench and sprint towards their enemy through no-mans land, only to get lacerated by the gunfire and fall on a heap of previously killed men from both sides.  This continued day in and day out with neither side gaining so much as an inch.  It continued because both sides were convinced that their respective foes were five steps below human, with absolutely no redeemable qualities whatsoever & who welcomed death to defend an inexcusable ideal.

Amidst such a horrible display of humanity arose one of the most monumental moments in the history of humankind. Something absolutely magical happened completely out of the smoky black haze that separated the sky from the rain and smoke and fire and death that blanketed the area.  A certain thing entered that place and provided a glorious episode of sanity from amongst the slaughter that encompassed the front.  Something occurred that spoke to the soldiers in a universal language and convinced them not to fight.  For a brief few hours, both sides spontaneously laid down their weapons and slowly climbed out of their trenches and approached each other… some bearing gifts of chocolate and tobacco, with tears in their eyes… some picking up their foes in a warm embrace… some even began playing a friendly game of soccer, while others just stood frozen in astonishment at what they were witnessing.  But all in accordance with a silent, but understood cease-fire.  This wonderfully magical moment actually happened.  And if it happened once, then it can happen again.  THIS is what I want to bottle and hand out to all of humanity.  Whatever the circumstances were that happened on that day need to be located, identified, distilled, contained and handed out to any and all.  We need to bottle “belief”.  People for one very brief moment believed in something bigger, larger, and more important than themselves.  They believed in each other.  They believed in the universal “us”.

SO, what is it exactly that happened?   I’ll tell you what happened.  …Christmas happened…  and it happened on December 25th, in the year 1914.  Not a holiday… but Christmas.  …Christmas Fourteen.

The very next day, under strict orders, both sides went back to fighting, to slaughtering… to altering each of their families lives forever.  But for one beautiful moment, they all believed.  WE… all believed.

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