Introductory Remarks on Resolution ``Commemorating the 100Th Anniversary of the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914’‘by Representative Joseph Crowley
Posted on 2014-12-11
of new york
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Mr. CROWLEY. Mr. Speaker, today I have introduced a resolution
commemorating the centennial anniversary of the World War I Christmas
Truce of 1914.
One hundred years ago this month, soldiers on the Western Front came together to unofficially pause hostilities and celebrate the Christmas holiday without regard for country lines or battle lines. The truce gave armies on both sides an opportunity to bury their fallen comrades, as well as share some festive cheer while far away from their homes and families.
Reports from soldiers on the front lines were that soldiers engaged in singing carols, sharing food and other provisions, and even lighthearted games. One of the most well-known aspects of the Christmas Truce is the impromptu football game that took place among the men. Many football clubs to this day recognize the Christmas Truce by holding commemorative games, and this year's historic anniversary will feature a number of recognitions in the sporting world.
The Christmas Truce has always inspired me as a reminder that it is possible for opponents to look beyond their differences and see each other as people, but I have a more personal connection as well. My great-grandfather was one of the soldiers present during the Christmas Truce, and his story and his experiences have been passed down as family lore.
I've also been drawn to this year's commemorations by my good friend Don Mullan, an Irish author who has been championing worldwide celebrations of this proud moment in world history. Don has been developing a Christmas Truce and Flanders Peace Field Project in Messines, Belgium in partnership with the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace and UNESCO. This project has gained the support of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and will help ensure that the Christmas Truce, and more importantly, the lessons it has taught us, will always be remembered.
I hope that this holiday season, wherever we are, we can all take a moment to remember the Christmas Truce and to remind ourselves of a time when soldiers laid down their weapons and recognized how essential it is to value humanity. The Christmas Truce is a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, and reminds us that even in the darkest times, we should always strive toward peace.