“Christmas bells, those Christmas bells
Ring out from the land
Asking peace of all the world
And good will to man ...
“The Baron had Snoopy dead in his sights
He reached for the trigger to pull it up tight
Why he didn’t shoot, well, we’ll never know...
“The Baron made Snoopy fly to the Rhine
And forced him to land behind the enemy lines
Snoopy was certain that this was the end
When the Baron cried out, ‘Merry Christmas, my friend!’ ...
“The Baron then offered a holiday toast
And Snoopy, our hero, saluted his host
And then with a roar they were both on their way
Each knowing they’d meet on some other day ...
Written by Phil Gernhard and Dick Holler
Performed by The Royal Guardsmen, 1966
On Christmas Eve 1914, German and Allied troops called an unofficial cease to World War I.
The Christmas Truce of 1914, as it is called, began with the singing of Christmas carols by each side across enemy lines.
The next morning, on Christmas Day, unarmed German soldiers approached the Allies and wished their “enemies” a Merry Christmas and shook their hands.
The opposing warriors then exchanged small presents, food and German beer, before playing a game of soccer, as they brought a temporary end to death, destruction and animosity and, thereby, reassured themselves of their humanity.
In 1966, the musical group The Royal Guardsmen took this piece of history and turned it into an encounter between Snoopy and fictional German pilot Manfred von Richthofen.
The horrific shooting of Republican Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana and four others during a June 14 practice for a charity baseball game has led many in the media and in poli- tics to call for an end to the hateful and inflammatory rhetoric that has swept this nation.
What they seem not to understand, however, is that calling for an end to the contentious and bitter political battles is quite different from actually doing it.
The German and Allied soldiers in the trenches on Christmas Eve 1914 did not call for an end to the hostilities; they just did it — albeit, short lived as it was — and by doing so, they ensured their humanity remained intact despite the horrors of war.
War, baseball and soccer all have rules of engagement, and certain behaviors just aren’t tolerated.
As representatives of democracy and the free world, America’s politicians should be men and women of goodwill and civility, and they should express themselves thusly.
And we, the American people, should not tolerate anything less than humanity expressed toward our fellow man from those we have voted into office.