Dona Nobis Pacem

By , June 6, 2007 12:01 am

My parents are older and English. They were school-age children at the start of WWII, and teenagers by the time it was over. They have many tales of going to school with gas masks (or “forgetting” them at home so you got to miss class to go and retrieve them!), bomb shelters, air raid sirens, blackout curtains, barrage balloons, unexploded bombs that dropped in the schoolyard, incendiary bombs that burned the scenery for the school play, and shrapnel collections. It seems that children are very adaptable, even in extreme circumstances.My paternal grandfather served on the front lines in WWI. He never, ever spoke of it.

In the safe, comfortable world that I live in, it is hard to imagine what life was like for my parents or grandparents during that time. What if bombs started dropping on my town? What if my children went to school with gas masks? I am sad that there are people in this world today who know what all this, and worse, is like.

I am sure my parents’ and grandparents’ generations hoped that those two terrible wars would be the last. Surely we as a species should have learned our lesson then. But of course, humans always seem to find something to fight about.

I remember my father telling me as a child the story of The Christmas Truce of 1914. That Christmas German and British soldiers decided amongst themselves to have a temporary ceasefire. The Germans lit little Christmas trees along their trench. The trees had been sent to them from their families. Both sides sang Christmas carols, sometimes together (apparently “Oh Come All Ye FaithfulAdeste Fideles, is a universal one).

They finally left the trenches, met in the middle, swapped cigarettes, played cards and, in one place, soccer (the Germans won 3-2). They exchanged little trinkets such as buttons, hats or small gifts from care packages with one another. They also helped each other bury their dead. In a few areas this unofficial ceasefire (which alarmed the authorities on both sides) lasted until New Year’s, at which point they began the job of shooting each other once again.

I am not a historian and I have read that there is some disagreement as to the exact details and extent of the Truce, but my wish here is to highlight the spirit of this ceasefire. People are the same. People can get along if left alone.

Dona Nobis Pacem…Grant Us Peace – PLEASE!!!

Please visit Mimi’s Blog to find links to many, many, many more Peace Posts today.

24 Responses to “Dona Nobis Pacem”

  1. mousey says:

    may peace be with you today and always.

    interesting story

  2. mjd says:

    I remember hearing about the truce. You are right,”People are the same. People can get along if left alone.” You have written a inspirational post. Peace to you and your family.

  3. Dragonheart says:

    Wonderful post and lovely peace globe. :) My dad’s grandfather served in WWII, and like your grandfather, he doesn’t talk about it with us, only with his old war buddies, who are fewer and fewer every year.

  4. Starrlight says:

    What a lovely post!

  5. The Rock Chick says:

    Lovely post with great words of wisdom :) Peace to you!

    Jessica The Rock Chick

  6. wishy the writer says:

    Thank you for your moving post!

  7. Aldon Hynes says:

    Great Peace Globe and Peace Post.

  8. Jamie says:

    No one understands the horrors of war better than those who fought it. If you haven’t seen it, get “Hope and Glory” for a picture of England during WW II.

    Peace to you and yours.

  9. Dayngr says:

    Praying for peace and supporting our troops.
    eMail Our Military

  10. Bond says:

    Wonderful Post

    Grant Us Peace – “All You Need Is Love”
    Sitting On The COUCH For Peace

  11. Bud Weiser, WTIT says:

    May the warmth and spirit of this Peace Globe Day bring us all peace. You’re globe is beautiful.

    From WTIT: the most peaceful Tape Radio Station ever…

  12. Pearls of Wisdom says:

    Great post and globe. Mine is up as well. Peace to you and yours.

    Angel Mama ():)

  13. Parker says:

    Great post! Peace and purrs to you!

  14. Travis says:

    Wonderful post. I’m linking to this on my blog.

    Happy Peace Globe Day.

    Peace to you!

  15. letha says:

    Great post and I love the globe.

  16. Kimo & Sabi says:

    Peace be wif yous!

  17. Karen Jo says:

    I love your peace globe. I have heard of the 1914 Christmas truce before. I enjoyed your telling of it. I also think people would get along if left alone. Peace and love to you and all your family.

  18. Pablo says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and wishing me peace and chicken… especially for the chicken! The story of the WWI Christmas Truce was turned into a film a couple of years ago, called Joyeux Noel. Haven’t seen it, but it’s an amazing story, hey? Peace to you and yours, all the way from Tasmania!

  19. Moonroot says:

    What a wonderful post!

  20. Annelisa says:

    I’ve heard this story before… it’s always made me wonder how they could start shooting again, once they’d met the people they were shooting at!

    But, it is the idea of it that gets me most. That they just stopped, of their own accord, and got together. Wish it was always like that!

    Peace to you and yours!

  21. Obsidian Kitten says:

    wonderful post.

  22. […] Also, for more thoughts on peace, please visit my June Dona Nobis Pacem post. […]

  23. […] and then all participants get together and write about peace on a certain day. I did it last June and November and intend to continue. I hope any other bloggers out there will join us next June! […]

  24. […] June 2007 and November 2007 (10 Ideas for Fostering International Understanding in Your Kids). […]

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