December 24, 2010
Christmas Eve 1914 an Annual Tradition of Silent Night

I’ve posted this song in various YouTube versions here on Bad Attitudes on Christmas Eve previously, so this year I won’t disappoint. A true story, the song was written by John McDermott about the Christmas Truce of 1914 in the First World War.

The song reminds me of an incident at our own home. My grandfather, although born in America, was raised by his German parents who had come over after a life of poverty in Europe and had started a floral business in the United States and had built a successful floral business, my great-grandfather, an orphan and raised as an apprentice as a groundskeeper to a much higher level of craftsmanship, having been a groundskeeper for several rich German families.

Quite often my grandfather would travel with father to Europe to bring over tulips from Holland and other flowers from other parts of Europe, and although I did not know it, must have mastered the German language quite well. My great-grandfather was a committed socialist. My grandfather never talked about such things to me as he had lost his family to Eastern Germany’s blackout of the West during the Cold War. He never spoke of his family again, it being too painful, but I found his father’s story in an old clipping from a book about businessmen in the town where they lived.

At 70 my grandfather suffered a massive stroke and after staying at various places, none being suitable, he came to live at our house. At Christmas, while my sister was playing Christmas songs on the piano, she played the music to Silent Night and then, in his infirmity in which he did not know where he was or what time it was as he was blind and had no memory that we were aware of, he started singing the words to Silent Night, as my sister described it, in perfect German.

If only such were true in all of the world in relation to war. It will probably never be so but in the meantime, we can hope that one day all men will remember the beauty of a truly silent night and end war forever. The video below tells the story of one place and time where that happened in a war zone, if only for one brief, bright, shining moment. In one or more of the times I posted this people have asked about the incident so this year I have chosen a video that shows some book titles that have been written about that fateful night.

Merry Christmas to all.


Posted by Buck Batard at December 24, 2010 12:10 AM
Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):


Thank you for this.

Best to you and yours in the new year.

Posted by: karen marie on December 25, 2010 3:11 PM

In the Pennsylvania Dutch places where I grew up, the first verse of "Silent Night" was always sung in German.

Posted by: JoyfulA on December 26, 2010 11:45 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?