Peace on Earth

“Jay-suz, will yer lis’en ‘air, ain’t tit bee-you-tahful though?”

Sammy Baldwin nodded at Abe Schmidt. “It’s Silent Night—ain’t it Abe?”

Schmidt, who spoke fluent German, nodded and closed his eyes. “Sure is Sammy and—oh my—what a voice it is what’s singin’ it.”

It was Christmas Eve and the mood was festive, the Germans had even implanted dozens of Christmas trees along the Front and most of them were decorated with as much merriment as the German soldiers could bestow upon their precious weihnachtsbaums.

Suddenly, just as it had begun, the singing stopped and there was an eerie silence of perhaps a minute, until clapping and cheering could be heard from both sides and one Englishman yelled, loudly, “Jolly good show then Fritz, jolly good, encore I say then.”

It was mid-afternoon and just as suddenly as the German had begun singing Silent Night, several Englishmen, Irishmen and at least two Americans, as Sammy Baldwin and Abe Schmidt joined in, began singing Silent Night, in their different and various accents but harmonizing remarkably well, considering the circumstances. When they finished singing, it drew quite a bit of applause from the German side, along with cheers and shouts, in broken English, of “Englander iz gut sangar,” and ‘Tommy, you are gut enuff for us, we vill join you.”





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