Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Holiday Spirit is stronger than the Anger of War

The year is 1914 and World war I has been going on for 4 months, soldiers from Germany and Britain, living in mud filled trenches suffering from the cold weather, the chill of the icy rain pouring down on them, with the rain comes the constant shell bombardment from both sides, snipers picking off their targets death is everywhere hope is nowhere. Suddenly around 10pm after the guns had fallen silent, singing could be heard from the German trenches,

Stille Nacht!
Heil'ge Nacht!
Alles schläft;
einsam wachtNur das traute hoch heilige Paar.
Holder Knab' im lockigen Haar,
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!

It was Christmas eve, with the fighting and dying going on all around them the British had forgotten what day it was and the German soldiers were singing carols, after a while the British joined in singing in English, for the first time in four months there was hope in the air. Not bullits, bombs and death.

Day light came on Christmas morning, the soldiers from both trenches lay down their weapons, got out of the trenches and walked into "no man's land", about half way between the trenches, they shook hands and exchanged cigarettes and chocolate whilst wishing each other a Merry Christmas.

A soccer ball was produced and both sides played soccer this went on for an hour or so, slowly both sides dispersed back to their own respective trenches. The men shaking hands and wishing each other a final "Merry Christmas".

The next day the shelling started again, the killing and death resumed. The war was back on. The miracle of "peace and goodwill to all men" never meant so much as it did on Christmas day in 1914. The war, death and killing would continue for three more years.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Odd Facts of Plymouth Rock

In 1741 a 94 year old man named Thomas Faunce Identified Plymouth Rock as the rock his father told him was the first solid land the pilgrims had set foot on. (not true the pilgrims first Landed on cape cod, Provincetown Today)

Theophilus Cotton and the town’s people of Plymouth decided to move Plymouth Rock in 1774 it split in two halves. When that happened they took the upper part of Plymouth rock and relocated it to Plymouth’s meeting house and then moved it again to Pilgrim Hall Museum in 1834. The bottom portion of the rock was left behind on the wharf.

It is estimated that the rock weighed 20,000 lb’s till tourist and souvenir hunters chipped away at it. Numerous pieces of the rock were taken and bought and sold. Today Approximately 1/3 of the top portion remains today.. No pieces noticeably have been removed since 1880. There is one more piece in Patent Building in Smithsonian.

Plymouth Rock has figured prominently in Native American History. Particularly as a symbol of the wars waged soon after the pilgrims landed. It has been ceremoniously buried twice by Native American rights activists, once in 1970 and again in 1995 as a part of the National Day of Mourning protests.