American Elephants


“Can’t Stop the Cavalry” by The Elephant's Child

I’m a sucker for tuba music. This song comes in many versions, this one was made seven years ago for the troops.



Merry Christmas from the United States Air Force by The Elephant's Child

Last December, the United States Air Force Band did a surprise performance at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. I loved this one. Enlarge to full screen, you’ll enjoy it. I’ve never been flash-mobbed, but the people who are there clearly love it.



The Christmas Truce, One Hundred Years Ago, Remembered. by The Elephant's Child

Here is Sainsbury’s official Christmas 2014 advertisement, made in cooperation with the Royal British Legion. It was inspired by very real events one hundred years ago. The chocolate bar featured in the video is being sold by Sainsburys, a British supermarket chain, all profits go to the Royal British Legion and benefit British armed forces and their families.

The Wall Street Journal published an article on the Christmas Truce in 1914. A British soldier named Frank Richards wrote about the event:

On Christmas morning we stuck up a board with ‘A Merry Christmas’ on it. The enemy had stuck up a similar one…. Two of our men then threw their equipment off and jumped on the parapet with their hands above their heads. Two of the Germans done the same and commenced to walk up the river bank, our two men going to meet them. They met and shook hands and then we all got out of the trench…

Up and down the four hundred-odd miles of trenches on the Western Front, men risked their lives with similar acts, meeting opposing soldiers in “no man’s land.” Wary and unarmed, they made their way out of their trenches, taking steps that, a day earlier, would have guaranteed their death at the hands of sharpshooters and machine gunners a hundred yards away.

The relaxation of hostilities spread, and what has come to be called the “Christmas truce” took hold. Soon, soldiers were holding joint burial services for the dead. They began trading goods. British soldiers had been given holiday tins of plum pudding from the king; German soldiers had received pipes with a picture of the crown prince on them; and before long the men were bartering these holiday gee-gaws that celebrated the enemy’s royals. Eventually, soldiers prayed and caroled together, shared dinner, exchanged gifts. Most famously, there were soccer matches at various locations, played with improvised balls.

The truce mostly held through Christmas and, in some cases, even to the New Year. It took senior officers’ threats for fighting to resume, and such comprehensive battlefront peacemaking never happened again during the Great War. Courts-martial were brought against those involved later in even brief Christmas truces to retrieve the dead.

ADDENDUM: Here’s a photograph of a real football game played on the battlefield in 1914 during the Christmas truce, from Twitter.

ChristmasTruce




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