13    Dec 20144 comments

Christmas 1914: A holiday truce

This Christmas marks 100 years since the famous Christmas truce of WWI, in 1914.

During a stormy winter of fighting between the two sides, a widespread but unofficial truce emerged in the week leading up to - and on - the holiday. German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and to sing songs between their trenches. There were even occasions where soldiers walked over to opposing sides to talk to their counterparts and exchange gifts.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the soldiers put aside their differences for a few hours. Many of them - from both sides - ventured into "no man's land," where they met and exchanged food and souvenirs, and sang carols together.

German and British soldiers meeting in no man's land, December 26, 1914

It is said that at the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines calling out "Merry Christmas." The Allied soldiers were wary at first, thinking it might be a trick, but when they saw the Germans approach them unarmed, they climbed out of their trenches as well, and shook hands with the enemy. Continue reading "Christmas 1914: A holiday truce" »

28    May 20120 comments

Memorial Day: Honoring the fallen

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in the US.

Over the weekend, flags fly at half-mast, graves are decorated with flowers and family members pay their respects at national cemeteries. Ceremonies honoring fallen soldiers - of all wars and conflicts - take place across the country.

In many places, Boy Scout Troops - as part of their commitment to community service - place flags on each soldier’s grave.

See below two newspaper articles  on the holiday, from the New York Sun (May 31, 1872) and the Hawaiian Gazette (May 30, 1911). Click on each article image to see the original page from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America site, and learn more.

The day was first observed in 1865 to remember fallen Civil War soldiers; it was then called Decoration Day.

The Hawaiian Gazette reported on Decoration Day (Credit: Library of Congress, Chronicling America, Hawaiian Gazette)

Continue reading "Memorial Day: Honoring the fallen" »

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