…And unto us a child is born…
In honor of Black Friday, the kickoff day for the shopping season:
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
William Wordsworth, 1807
What we see here are two vintage shots of No Man’s Land from World War I.
The first is a stereo shot of a ‘ghostly’ skeleton with its uniform still on. This sort of photo card was made for viewing through a hand held stereo scope. Can you imagine getting one of these and rushing to look through the scope and see the rotten solider in 3D? A nice Xmas gift, eh? And then a long shot of the barbed wire that separated the lines of trenches.
But during WWI, some soldiers had the weird idea of poking their heads above the killing line and fraternizing with the enemy, all in the spirit of Christmas. The trenches were so close that troops from the opposing armies could easily speak to or hurl insults at one another. When the holidays rolled around after the mechanized slaughter had been going on in earnest for quite a while, the troops, British and German, spontaneously called a truce. They climbed out of their rat holes and met in No Man’s Land, exchanged treats, whiskey, buried their comrades who had been left rotting in the mud for days or weeks, and sang songs to one another. Seems bizarre – after all, they knew it couldn’t last.Needless to say, the officers were furious. Not good for morale at all. It was never allowed to happen again. One source states:
“British commanders vowed that no such truce would be allowed again. In all of the following years of the war, artillery bombardments were ordered on Christmas Eve to insure that there were no further lulls in the combat. ” For more info, visit: Wikipedia Article