Christmas in the Trenches


I first heard this song in 1991 while driving, and had to pull over to cry. The song not only portrays a real event; the event portrayed has happened many times on many fronts, but since the pursuit of peace is considered treasonous by those who order the killing and the lackeys who follow them, we seldom hear about such things.

The whole world professes its abhorrence of war, yet war never ceases. I don’t understand why we live this way, and I’m ashamed that it’s my own country—and my own taxes—that’s behind much of the violence. America boasts of being "the leader of the free world,” but the only place this greedy, arrogant, and wasteful nation of mine is capable of leading anyone is to hell.

52 comments:

ellen abbott said...

The United States has been at war, one war or another, for nearly every year of its existence. Seriously.

Snowbrush said...

"The United States has been at war, one war or another, for nearly every year of its existence."

Yet, our Secretaries of State spends most of their time traveling the world lecturing other nations about the importance of working toward non-violent solutions to their problems with their neighbors. I think that people in other countries must surely look at us and wonder if we have any clue how ridiculous we are.

Mad Mind said...

I remember reading about this a few years ago. It's a beautiful story and it's too bad the message is ignored.

The Elephant's Child said...

I hadn't come across this one before, and I too wept. And my country (and regretable others too) are ready to follow yours and go to war. I suspect the Defence budget (which could also be called the Aggression budget) for each of our countries is the highest aportionment of our taxes. Which is so wrong on so many levels. The old phrase 'fighting for peace is like f'ing for virginity' remains true.

Charles Gramlich said...

Yes, we must love war a lot as much time as we spend on it.

Kay Dennison said...

I really love this video.

Man -- not just the American variety -- is a violent animal.

That corgi :) said...

I hadn't heard this before. I'm not surprised though that we have wars, I think there has been a very short period of time since time began when there weren't wars. We will never truly have peace here on earth until Jesus comes back. Bible says there will be rumors of war and wars and it has proven to be true, like God's word always is. So why should we be surprised with it or dismayed by it? Sad as it is, it will always be here until it is the time for Jesus to come and restore the world.

In saying that, I hope it was a good day for you and yours. I'm technically on blog break so if you don't see me for a bit, you'll know why (helping hubby deal with the death of his parents within a month of each other......)

May 2012 be a kind year to you!

betty

Lorraina said...

I too cry over matters of war and yet i must hear and see and learn of it always. If not for family today i would have gone to the movie War Horse rather than open unwanted, useless gifts.Nobody in my family history went to war; my own kids know little of wars and their children know absolutely nothing. I would like to tell them but cannot meddle or mess with their minds; it seems children are being raised these days to not learn of wars or the stresses of the past.
When we go to Hawaii i go to Pearl Harbor and Punchbowl cemetery to pay my respects; they go to the beach.I don't know why it affects me the way it does; to each his own in a free country i guess but i see it as a waste, a big huge waste that they'll never know about war and i believe it would do them good to learn of what's happened on earth instead of thinking they live in a fairy tale.

The Blog Fodder said...

Empires rise and fall. "Those that call the shots" make the profits, the poor fight it and middle class pay for it. War is what Americans get for their taxes, to the profit of the 1%.
Thanks so much for posting this, Snowbrush, and reminding us how far we still are from Peace on Earth; goodwill towards men.

Natalie said...

People in other countries do think you (USA) are ridiculous. What is more ridiculous is that our leaders just follow yours. WTF?

Sending love to you and Peggy. Merry Christmas and may you both have a year full of good health,love and joy.xx♥

rhymeswithplague said...

Our pastor included these startling facts at the opening of her (yes, her) Christmas Day sermon about the Prince of Peace:

In the past 3,000 years of carefully recorded history, mankind has managed to live peacefully with one another only 12% of the time. War occurred between somebody during 88% of the years. In only 286 of the past 3,000 years has there been no conflict between nations, no aggression by one people toward another.

Sissy said...

We all have been bamboozled! When we each learn to think for ourselves and stick to what we know is moral instead of what pap and bs we are fed by the ptb, then and only then will peace possibly come about. Yet those ptb have us by the balls, controlling every aspect of our lives; let's stand up and suck our gut in until they can't control us anymore. I don't waste my time voting. It's just another of their games of controlling our brain.
Always war! I'm fed up with those who control!

Sightings said...

I'm afraid I agree with KD, lots of people profess abhorrence of war -- until someone crosses them, and then they suddenly find a "noble cause" to fight for. America may not be the best, but it's not the worst either, not by far. Ask the people in Sudan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, etc., etc. And ... in Europe too.

Regardless, nice post. Peace on earth and good will toward all people.

Snowbrush said...

"America may not be the best, but it's not the worst either"

Considering how many weapons we have, we could certainly do a lot worse. However, the countries you noted are geographically limited in their destructive potential, and the US is not. For example, we order hits in god knows how many countries, and we have military bases all over the world. I think that's probably why people are as nice to us as they are--they're simply afraid to get on our shit list.

"In only 286 of the past 3,000 years has there been no conflict between nation"

Rhymes, I can't imagine how she came up with such a statistic. For example, the Americas were only discovered 500 years ago by peoples who kept careful records of such things. By contrast, only the more advanced Central and South American Indians kept written records.

PhilipH said...

War is an industry, probably the biggest. Always will be.
Man has been creating bigger and better weapons over the centuries, from David and his slingshot against Goliath, and one day the ultimate weapon will be invented.
And that will be the end all wars - and mankind.
Oh well, that's life.

Marion said...

What a sad song!! I read in the Bible that there will always be wars and rumors of wars. I don't understand this except that maybe it's man's nature to want power, control and dominance. Sadly, we all have to suffer because of it.

I hope you have a wonderful new year, Snow! xo

Robert the Skeptic said...

This is a great song written by
John McCutcheon and based on a true story he heard first hand.
John McCutcheon performs routinely in Corvallis every couple of years or so. Very much worth taking in his concerts.

ladyfi said...

Although I love the story of the soldiers celebrating Christmas together, I often wonder how on earth they then managed to go back to being enemies and killing each other after it was over.

Deb said...

"Peace on earth" is nearly impossible when there are so many countries and leaders desiring power over one another. With that being said, we're all in defense-mode trying to 'one up' on everyone so we can protect ourselves which says one thing to other countries: no trust. In my opinion, peace is nearly impossible. ~However~ ---I'm hoping you had a peaceful holiday!

Grayquill said...

Tell us what you really think. A man of strong opinions. I think I like you.
A common faith between enemies resulted in a few hours of peace. Encouraging....

Beau's Mom said...

Fighting amongst ourselves is not enough and we send our young sons across the seas to fight the fight of others. After doing no good, we bring them home and find another country to send them to.

There should at least be a requirement that every presidential candidate must have (1) fought in a war or (2) had a son or daughter show up for one.

And we know we'll never have a president who knows what hardship, or being POOR, really means.

Snowbrush said...

"Tell us what you really think."

Okay, I'll give up my pussy-footing diplomacy and post a video of myself peeing on an American flag while throwing darts at a picture of the Jesus. Actually, I sometimes wonder when some conservative talk show is going to track me down and see that I receive my fair share of death threats, intimidation being the preferred tactic among many right-wingers.

"There should at least be a requirement that every presidential candidate must have (1) fought in a war or (2) had a son or daughter show up for one."

I find that most veterans and their families are hawkish (Dole and McCain, for example). I guess that's easier than admitting that they were duped and that the lives of their friends were wasted. In any event, I've never heard a single hawk apologize for his or her support of a war that most of the population has come to consider a mistake. Their standard line seems to be that the war was worthwhile, but that we didn't spend enough money, drop enough bombs, and sacrifice enough troops.

kj said...

snow, i tell you this: of every christmas story and post and song and gift i have been given, this is the one i will remember. thank you.

the song of course made me cry too. what torment to connect, to understand the universality within all of us, and to return to fighting and killing afterwards. i think that would be far more painful than believing, accepting that the other side is an enemy.

i agree with you totally about war. i don't get it. as a species we have evolved on almost every level, but not on how we resolve conflicts. how come? hell i, can get indignant with the best of em, but i've learned over time that my way is not the only way. isn't that the lesson?

i admire you, snow. more and more i cherish your authenticity. this is a bullshit-free place. well, since nobody's perfect, i'll say 99% of the time :^)

happy new year to you and yours.
love
kj

patsy said...

my grandfather fought in the trenches in europe in ww1, he told us that the men passed chewing tobacco to the enemey at night once. he said the call went out , yankey, chewing tobacco and the men handed the tobacco to A man who came across the field to the US trench. my grandfather always spoke the truth.

Selma said...

There's actually a film about the Christmas truce of 1914. It's a French film called 'Joyeux Noel.' It's very good.

War. I could go on about it for hours. One of the great failings of the human race. I understand about the political, military and global issues that drive the war machine but when you break war down to its most basic level it is an ordinary man fighting against an ordinary man. That saddens me a lot.

Snowbrush said...

"There's actually a film about the Christmas truce of 1914."

I saw it and agree that it is good. The song was somehow more memorable to me, maybe because it did such a good job of condensing the poignancy of the experience to a few minutes.

Strayer said...

It meant nothing, the truce. One English Captain in the end, when he "had to restore order" shot the German boy in the field that they had shared with moments before, to destroy the truce and get on with the killing. I thought it was beautiful at first, then I thought how stupid, to stop shooting each other, share a truce of Christmas then start butchering one another again.

It does go to show, that if war is ever to stop, the soldiers must refuse to fight, stop mindlessly following orders, heeding the call to join up in the first place. Most wars are about egotistical leaders, who should never get to be leaders to begin with. A warning, I guess. All presidents, all members of Congress, should be required that all their children join active duty military immediately upon their election. Then maybe, those in charge would be less likely to spend lives as currency.

Priscilla said...

I hadn't heard of this one before but the song and the video did make me weep too. Many thanks for sharing it.

Helen said...

This post is a mighty special Christmas gift, my friend.

I join you in the shame ...

Kert said...

Hello,

I'm not sure if I've told you before, but I am from Mindanao -- where all Caucasians are not advised to go to and where the recent typhoon/bad flooding had occurred (Again, thanks for the concern. It was a great relief when I found out my family is far from harm since I currently live far away from them).

The reason many Caucasians are told not to go there is because of the peace and order situation in the island -- which is pretty much nil in some areas. In fact, when people find out I'm from there one of the things they usually ask me is "Aren't you scared of living there?".

The unrest comes from different factions: the government, the separatists, the leftists, the people who just want to protect themselves from the chaos -- and yes, multinational companies also have something to do with it as the island is a haven for natural resources. Reasons vary from political, economical to religious.

My mother told me that my grandparents' old house were gunned down. People of my kin (my ethnic group) were attacked (by another ethnic group) and so they started to arm themselves. This was back in the 70s and 80s.

The two ethnic groups had stopped meeting in the front lines. However, there is still much turmoil in the island. When I was 10, one of my cousins was victim of a bombing in our town.I never really talked to her but she was a good kid.

Too much lives were wasted. And sometimes, what people are fighting for don't seem clear to me. Land? Two decades ago people here believed that land cannot be owned. Money? It's temporary. Religion? What for?

It's very sad because Mindanao has a lot to offer. Natural wonders, cultural diversity, endemic flora and fauna...but it's all being washed away because of many useless wars. I just hope it ends soon.

Snowbrush said...

"It meant nothing, the truce."

I read a book once--title and author now forgotten--which took the position that ordinary citizens are rarely keen on going to war until their leaders have convinced them that it is necessary, often through lies. For instance, would America have gone into WWI had we known the Lusitania really was carrying ammunition to Germany's enemies, or would we have gone into the Spanish American War had we known there was no evidence that the Spanish--or anyone else--intentionally blew up the Battleship Maine? Even prior to WWII, Roosevelt spent a great deal of time trying to get us into that war. For instance, prior to Japan's attack, we had deprived them of access to their oil supply. If the author's contention is correct, the Christmas Truce might have meant that these men in the trenches, the ones who were doing the actual fighting while their leaders were snug in bed back home, had a moment of clarity, and saw that they were but pawns in someone else's game. I agree completely that a nation's leaders should bear more of the burden. Bush and Obama sent many people to die or be maimed, yet they themselves can look forward to a lifetime of comfort and wealth.

Robin said...

Ah, Snow,,,,you KNOW I cried when I heard this song and read your words. I am NOT a *Pollyannna*....but it remains a mystery to me why *WE* (the entire world) insists on war....killing, bloodshed... it doesn't make any sense to me....but these days, especially after my last few months, not too much makes real sense. I just try to be as loving as I can to everyone...and not to harbour hatred/bitterness to those who have really hurt me. I guess I am trying to say that I believe if we all try and love the world...the people, the animals, the plants...it's the best that can be done...and we will know in our hearts and souls we did what we could.

You have "rounded up" a small, but mighty group of friends here.... many of us think differently about God, our Country etc....but still, we all embrace our love of you....and you know, this is what life is really all about!

Love to you, Peggy , Blue and Brewsky - and a HAPPY 2012! Less Pain! More Love!

♥ Robin ♥

Strayer said...

In response, Snow, I don't know. I read many men, eager to leave the drudgery of farm life, quickly signed on to one side or the other in the civil war. They wanted to fight, did not think of the horrors they would see, experience, inflict upon others or be inflicted upon.

In Hemmingways For Whom the Bell Tolls, a young professor travels to Spain no less, to fight in their war. And dies in their war. This is incomprehensible to locals, hiding in the hills. One conversation in that book is very interesting to me. When, as they drink and converse, in the cave, the local band of rebels, and the American, they take to discussing how long it takes to live a life. Can a life be lived in one day or three days, they debate. It's a good book about war and all it's contradictions and personal dilemmas.

Giovanna said...

complimenti un post fantastico mi sono aggiunta se ti va passa mi farebbe piacere

Punk Chopsticks said...

I don't know...I really don't. I guess one reason has to be that male dominence over another is already biologically implanted in us. But still, the thought itself depresses me.

julie said...

Thank you for this post Snow...I am so angry about the state of the world and the role that America plays in creating hell for humans all over the world in my name. And I certainly hope that no one still believes we go to other countries with our tanks and drones to gift them with democracy.. This link is a post at another blog I read...It shows a map of Iran and just how many US bases surround it....

http://coyoteprime-runningcauseicantfly.blogspot.com/2011/12/strait-of-hormuz-standoff-iran-films-us.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+RunningcauseICantFly+%28Running+%27Cause+I+Can%27t+Fly%29

Nothing like another war to take our minds off the fact that there are no jobs, and children go to bed hungry, and people die for lack of health care right here in the good old land of freedom and justice for all.....and all while we the people sit around our tv's watching corporate news tell us who to hate when we should all be out Occupying something...It's time to DO something!
xo

Amit said...

Hello Snowbrush,

I have come to say "Thank You". You were the first person to comment on my blog when I wrote one back December 2008. Its been long time since then and I do see that your blog has taken a great shape and you have been writing a lot. Kind of super-star in small world :).

I am in US for my education but when I looked up google maps for Oregon, I felt I am still too far to come and personally thank you.

Thank You for your encouragement and Happy New Year.

The Blog Fodder said...

I'd be interested in your comments on this article:
http://nextyearcountrynews.blogspot.com/2011/12/just-because-youre-atheist-doesnt-make.html

Helen said...

Dear Snow,
Wishing you everything good in 2012!
Helen in Bend

Catz said...

This was very lovely Snowbrush and thank you for stopping by Miss Lucy's blog and leaving me a message. I have not posted on either of my sites for a long time. A while ago I decided that if I was pushed for time real time people had to be my priority. I have been very busy in the last few months and really did not have much that I thought anyone would want to hear. Perhaps a fresh start in the new year.
Your blog is one of the best blogs I follow and I thank you for making us all think about things like war and our part in it. Why is it that every one wants peace but no one is willing to give up total power to attain it?

Happy New Year my friend and please keep posting these posts and continue to challenge me to think about my life and the world around me.

All Consuming said...

"Okay, I'll give up my pussy-footing diplomacy and post a video of myself peeing on an American flag while throwing darts at a picture of the Jesus"....Now THAT'S what I want for a present. Hehehe, Happy New Year to you Peggy, Brewster and Bonnie, may 2012 be as pain-free as is feasible and filled with laughter. xxx

Just_because_today said...

Snow, I can only agree with you on this one.
Happy New Year.

rhymeswithplague said...

In one of those end-of-year retrospectives, I saw that the last U.S. veteran of World War I had died in 2011.

Kendal said...

I agree, as it seems so many do. So why do we keep finding ourselves in other people's countries telling them how to live? I think because so many American's don't want to bother with the time to write or tell their Senators, Congressmen to butt out. I don't think our way is the best, making the rich richer and more powerful and the poor even worse off.

It's not so bad because I see more and more people helping each other, getting involved in their communities. I hope it catches on everywhere. It's up to us get involved and help when we can. Also get off the two party system. Let we 99%er'sstart our own party.

Kendal said...

If you don't vote you've no right to complain. It's a big problem, if those that don't vote went out and got active we might accomplish more.

Kendal said...

I forgot to add one thing, and that is American has only been around some 250 odds years, while Europe, England, France, Roman all went conquering all over the place. This country was conquered , the original people all near gone from genocide. Most likely everyone posted is living in a country conquered or conquering, at war or has been to war.

Other countries that don't go to war, or just send a few it's because they all know American will. We get criticized if we do, and if we don't. I hear so many "It's not worth voting" If those did vote we might become a country really worth being proud of. It's time for those standing by and watching to get involved.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Amen.
And best wishes for your new year.

Zuzana said...

I wrote about Christmas Truce a few years back. It is an incredible occasion in our rough and cruel history - perhaps a sign that basic goodness and decency exist in the hearts of the common man.
Now that a share my life with a soldier, the meaning of this one moment in time means so much more...
Wishing you and yours a prosperous 2012, may it be a good one for you and Peggy.;) And for the rest of your family;)
xoxo

Myrna R. said...

Of course you abhor war. You're a kind and sensitive man. Hard to understand how/why our country is so violent in so many ways. Still, we must try to find some peace in our own lives. I wish you tons of it.

Ed Pilolla said...

what an amazing song and appropriate sentiment. man is not violent by nature. young kids have a way of settling differences and moving on. it's only after they become part of the adult culture do they become warlike.

war is about greed and power, and wherever there is power there is corruption. the us has some freedoms syria, for example, does not. but the elite in this country are working on chipping away at that. witness the indefinate detention bill that just became law. no more habaeus corpus. it has only been around since 1679. eisenhower warned of the military industrial complex, and over the years the lawmakers at the behest of the special interest that run things made it profitable for corporations to do the war making, and now those corporations want no end to the war. i'm talking food service contracts and so many other 'infastructure' essentials of war that now impacts the quarterly profits of major transnationals, such as coca-cola, which, like the financial industry, owns both parties.

we are in a bad situation in this world, and a lot of people who oppose this rotten system will probably spend a lot of time in jail this year becuz they peacefully oppose it. empires do rise and fall. it is the way of this world since we began 'civilizing' 5,000 years ago. before that event, we still had a rich human culture, with the women of this world playing a much more prominent role in society and family. until the women re-emerge (and i don't mean hillary clinton, who is a product of the dominant culture), the paternalistic war machine will roll on, seems to me.

Stafford Ray said...

I pay for and get reputable economic advice. Three weeks ago, I was advised to consider the economic knock on of a US invasion of Iran.
The article pointed out that the US spends 40% of the global defence budget and that industry is so huge that it needs wars to keep its millions employed.
Better get used to it.

julie said...

It needs war to line the pockets of the very rich...yes, we should be used to it...but that doesn't mean that there can't be change. We the people do actually have a say, we just refuse to voice it.