Saturday Dec 8, I attended Christmas in the Trenches at Midway Village in Rockford, IL. This reenactment of the 1914 Christmas day truce between the British and German troops on a frozen French field was well done and kudos go to the men who laid on that cold plot of ‘no man’s land’ for most of the hour!
It was attended only by a small audience- most preregistered with a few walk ins. Outside temps were around 29. I actually liked this a lot as it created an intimate setting where the narrator of the event and the audience felt free to interact occasionally with comments. After the reenactment of events the audience was invited into the German trench and offered a warm drink and a Christmas cookie and was encouraged to stay and ask questions.
Historically the story is intriguing. The truce between troops starts slowly and carefully with white flags of surrender but soon moves to singing of Christmas carols, exchanging gifts from home like beer, cigarettes, pudding and kicking around a home-made soccer ball. To me the most poignant point is that after you befriend the enemy how can you be enemies anymore? History tells that after that day no one wanted to be the first to fire another shot. Both sides knew misery from the cold and wet. Both sides leaders where not happy that this happened, and France criticized the Brits for it. It seems the troops were weary of fighting and had more in common as men than the differences that war demanded.