Peace on Earth

Soldiers from both sides were applauding loudly when suddenly a silence crept over the crowd—when a British colonel and a lieutenant appeared. The colonel muttered to the lieutenant, under his breath, and the lieutenant sneered towards the enemies’ front line. “Ah, the damn Bosches, must bay tryin’ somethin’ sir.”

From out of the ranks an Irishman shouted, “Hey Fritz—make the colonel disappear,” and a roar of approval enveloped the air but then grew seriously deadly quiet, until Oberleutnent Laufenberg stepped forward.

“Herr Oberst, ve are here to make peace.” When Laufenberg saw the astonished look on the colonel’s face and then a look of impatience and anger, he added quickly, “Ja, and ve are here to bury our dead, ja Herr Oberst, Kerahnel? Bury your dead too?”

The colonel glanced around at the stinking and decaying corpses that littered the real estate known as No Man’s Land, and scowled viciously. “Aw-rye men bury our dead!” He stalked off slowly, his boots caked with the clayish mud, with the career, junior lieutenant fast on his heels.

Some of the men began getting shovels and fashioning crosses, trying to give their fallen comrades a decent burial, while others talked to each other; some, in small groups, were even seen crossing over, into the other’s territory. Sammy Baldwin was talking to Abe Schmidt when Baldwin noticed the German lieutenant who had been the catalyst of the truce, was speaking to another soldier, in German. “Ja, Ich sage, Dir Kurt, Ich werde nie mehr jemanden töten.”

Baldwin looked at Abe Schmidt and saw the strange look on his face. “What’d he say Abe?”

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