Thursday 23 March 2017

Desmond Tutu: Why we all have a responsibility to support Flanders Peace Field Project

TRUCE FIELD: Balls placed at the site of the famous game on Christmas Day 1914, close to the Island of Ireland Peace Park.
TRUCE FIELD: Balls placed at the site of the famous game on Christmas Day 1914, close to the Island of Ireland Peace Park.

Desmond Tutu

On the occasion of the launch of the Christmas Truce and Flanders Peace Field programme, I recall one of my favourite quotations, though it happened during a much smaller Truce in 1915, and comes from a German soldier named Richard Schirrmann.

He wrote: "When the Christmas bells sounded . . . something fantastically unmilitary occurred. German and French troops spontaneously made peace and ceased hostilities . . . and exchanged wine, cognac and cigarettes for Westphalian black bread, biscuits and ham. This suited them so well that they remained good friends even after Christmas was over."

Schirrmann pondered over this incident and wondered whether "thoughtful young people of all countries could be provided with suitable meeting places where they could get to know each other."

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