The Christmas Truce
by David G. Stratman
by David G. Stratman
From his book We Can Change the World
It (be) (1)___________________ December 25, 1914, only 5 months into World War I. German, British, and French soldiers, already sick and tired of the senseless killing, (disobey) (2)___________________ their superiors and fraternized with "the enemy" along two-thirds of the Western Front (a crime punishable by death in times of war). German troops (hold) (3)___________________ Christmas trees up out of the trenches with signs, "Merry Christmas."
"You no shoot, we no shoot." Thousands of troops (stream) (4)___________________ across a no-man's land strewn with rotting corpses. They (sing) (5)___________________ Christmas carols, exchanged photographs of loved ones back home, (share) (6)___________________ rations, played football, even roasted some pigs. Soldiers embraced men they (try) (7)___________________ to kill a few short hours before. They (agree) (8)___________________ to warn each other if the top brass forced them to fire their weapons, and to aim high.
A shudder (run) (9)___________________ through the high command on either side. Here was disaster in the making: soldiers declaring their brotherhood with each other and refusing to fight. Generals on both sides (declare) (10)___________________ this spontaneous peace-making to be treasonous and subject to court martial. By March 1915 the fraternization movement (eradicate) (11)___________________ and the killing machine put back in full operation. By the time of the armistice in 1918, fifteen million would be slaughtered.
Not many people (hear) (12)___________________ the story of the Christmas Truce. On Christmas Day, 1988, a story in the Boston Globe (mention) (13)___________________ that a local FM radio host played "Christmas in the Trenches," a ballad about the Christmas Truce, several times and was startled by the effect. The song (become) (14)___________________ the most requested recording during the holidays in Boston on several FM stations. "Even more startling than the number of requests I (get) (15)___________________ is the reaction to the ballad afterward by callers who (not/hear) (16)___________________ it before," said the radio host. "They telephone me deeply moved, sometimes in tears, asking, 'What the hell did I just hear?' "
You can probably guess why the callers (be) (17)___________________ in tears. The Christmas Truce story (go) (18)___________________ against most of what we have been taught about people. It (give) (19)___________________ us a glimpse of the world as we wish it could be and says, "This really happened once." It reminds us of those thoughts we (keep) (20)___________________ hidden away, out of range of the TV and newspaper stories that tell us how trivial and mean human life (be) (21)___________________. It is like hearing that our deepest wishes really (be) (22)___________________ true: the world really could be different.
Story retrieved from: http://www.wanttoknow.info/i/christmas-stories/inspirational-christmas-story