Showing posts with label Germany. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Germany. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

“Candy Bomber” — will always be a hero in the eyes of the German children

'Candy bomber' joins tens of thousands on base for 70th anniversary of Berlin Airlift’s end

Published: June 10, 2019

WIESBADEN, Germany — Retired U.S. Col. Gail Halvorsen — better known in these parts as the “Candy Bomber” — will always be a hero in the eyes of the German children who grew up in postwar Berlin, no matter how old they grow.
Retired U.S. Col. Gail Halvorsen greets spectators after arriving at the 70th anniversary commemoration of the end of the Berlin Airlift at Clay Kaserne airfield, Monday, June 10, 2019. BRIAN FERGUSON/STARS AND STRIPES

Seventy years after the lifting of the Soviet blockade that cut off the German capital from food, fuel and other essential supplies, those children still remember the delight of a chocolate bar tied to a makeshift parachute dropping from the sky.

On Monday, amid a grand celebration at Clay Kaserne airfield to commemorate the end of the Berlin Airlift, some of those children, now well into their 70s, thanked Halvorsen for an act that not only took the edge off their hunger but gave them hope during the bleak years after World War II.

“I’m very, very thankful,” Vera Mitschrich, who was 5 when the largest postwar relief operation began, told Halvorsen on Monday. “I’m so proud of you. You gave us hope. You gave us food. I never, never will forget you.”
read more here

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Soviets plotted to target and discredit the men, then considered “high-value targets,”


Stars and Stripes
By Matthew M. Burke and Marcus Kloeckner

Disgraced U.S. Air Force officers were set up, newly uncovered Stasi documents reveal uncovered Stasi documents reveal
According to 250 pages of Stasi files obtained by Stars and Stripes from the German government, the Soviets plotted to target and discredit the men, then considered “high-value targets,” culminating on the night of the crash.

For nearly 40 years, Bill Burhans has steadfastly maintained he wasn’t drunk when, as an Air Force lieutenant colonel driving fellow U.S. military liaisons home from a holiday party with their Soviet counterparts in East Germany, he lost control of the car, careened up an embankment and slammed into a bus.

When the car came to a stop on Dec. 29, 1979, Air Force Lt. Col. James Tonge, his passenger, called to him to move the car to the shoulder. But Burhans sat frozen, except for his trembling hands.

It was as if he’d been “hit in the head with an ax at the slaughterhouse,” Tonge would later tell U.S. investigators in a sworn statement.
read more here

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Veteran “it” all started with my Combat PTSD

How Becoming an Entrepreneur Helped Me Overcome Suicidal Thoughts

Steven Kuhn
Principle of Immediate Impact Consulting
February 13, 2019
Army veteran Steven Kuhn discusses his ongoing battle with Combat PTSD.
After years of pushing away loved ones, ignoring help and trying to forget my past, I came to the realization that embracing Combat PTSD as a source of strength was my only way out. Sounds crazy, I know, but hear me out. It shows me that I went through war and survived. I saw my inner darkness and lived there, saw death by my own hand, and lived through it all. Combat PTSD gives me the ability to do anything I want.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The artillery was still dropping as I ran up to Sgt. Young Min Dillon’s position. I heard he was hit and arrived just in time to share the last moments of his life. That was 1991 in Iraq. I feel fortunate to have been there and at the same time, it haunts me every day because it should have been me. At least that’s how I feel and that is where my doc says “it” all started with my Combat PTSD.

Veterans are an interesting demographic. We volunteer to do things most people don’t or won’t. Once we enlist, we are told what to do and when to do it. The basics are taken care of so that we as soldiers, marines, airmen and seamen can hyper-focus on our one task at hand. We become part of a massive team effort. In the military, no one needs to say a word: who you are, what you have done, where you served, how long you served and what you accomplished is all seen on your uniform.
I know all about the realities and horrors of PTSD firsthand. In 2008, I attempted suicide after leaving the military. At the time, I was staying in Germany where I was stationed. I attempted to grab a police officer’s weapon to shoot myself and when that didn’t work I grabbed a knife to finish the job. I came out the other side with a feeling of hopelessness I never thought I could overcome.
read more here

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Medic posted soldier's body part on Snapchat?

This is the excuse?
"The soldier’s motive for posting the image stemmed from his pride in taking part in the procedure rather than in seeking to embarrass or violate the patient’s rights, the source said."
But evidently not enough respect for the soldier!
Medic disciplined after posting photo of soldier’s severed body part on Snapchat
Published: February 28, 2018

STUTTGART, Germany — Military medical officials are imposing new social media guidelines after an Army medic at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany posted an operating room photo of a patient’s severed body part.

The incident, which occurred in mid-September but was just confirmed Wednesday, provoked unspecified disciplinary action against the medic and a commandwide warning from the Army’s top doctor.

“This type of behavior is unprofessional and violates the trust of those we serve, and the tenets of our profession,” said Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Nadja West in an email to medical staff.

The image of “unrecognizable body tissue that had been removed" from a soldier was posted to the social media site Snapchat Story, where images automatically expire after 24 hours. However, personnel learned of the incident and ordered that the picture also be deleted from the staffer’s phone, LRMC officials said.
read more here

Monday, December 4, 2017

Habitat for Humanity Teams Up For Generations of Veterans

Habitat For Humanity Of South Palm Beach Holds Veterans Build

Delray News
Staff Report
December 4, 2017

Delray Beach family members, veterans and neighbors now have spruced up homes thanks to Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach, Vertical Bridge and the Home Depot Foundation.

The homeowners, who are cousins living on the same Delray Beach street, are also members of the military. They have seen many wars including serving in WWII, Iraq and the youngest currently stationed in Germany, spanning three generations of service.
They are 92-year-old WWII Veteran Albert Green who served 41 years in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Merchant Marines stationed in the Pacific Rim during WWII in the Steward Department and Sedric Doughty, who 17 served years in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Navy Reserve and U.S. Air Force Reserve stationed in Japan as military police officer (final rank E-5) and saw active duty in the Iraq and Afghanistan War. Sedric’s son, 18-year-old Sedric Jr. who lives with him in the home passed down from Sedric’s mom, currently serves in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany.
Made possible by a $35,000 gift from presenting sponsor Boca-based Vertical Bridge with $32,000 in grant funding from Home Depot Foundation, more than 100 volunteers from both companies transformed their homes in honor of Veterans Day.

Monday, March 20, 2017

US Soldier Killed in Germany Car Crash

Soldier killed in car accident when driver raced MP
Published: March 20, 2017

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Spc. Tyler Vaughan, a 22-year-old soldier stationed in Vilseck, Germany, was killed Saturday in a car accident near the Grafenwoehr Training Area, the military said.
A 22-year-old soldier stationed in Vilseck, Germany, was killed Saturday, March 18, 2017, in a car accident near the Grafenwoehr Training Area. Two other soldiers were seriously injured and the driver of the car, who tested positive for alcohol, suffered minor injuries. COURTESY OF THE FREIHUNG FIRE DEPARTMENT
Vaughan, who served with the U.S. Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment as a fire team leader, was a passenger in a vehicle that veered off the road and rolled into a tree near the Grafenwoehr main gate, German media reported. Two other soldiers, 26 and 27 years old, were seriously injured.
read more here

Monday, November 7, 2016

PTSD Miracle Treatment Or Snake Oil?

Wow, you'd think that researchers would figure out what was done before. If it worked, they'd still be doing it and we would have seen the results. Guess they hope we didn't notice.
Volunteers wanted for PTSD study of treatment some call a miracle
Published: November 6, 2016

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A treatment involving the injection of a local anesthetic next to a bundle of nerves in the neck has eased post-traumatic stress symptoms in some patients in as little as 30 minutes with dramatic, lasting results.

Now, the Pentagon is funding a study at three Army medical centers to determine if the technique — long used for the treatment of pain — is truly effective in treating PTSD.

The results from the largest random, controlled trial using the stellate ganglion block could revolutionize the way PTSD — considered a mental illness — is viewed and treated, according to doctors familiar with the experimental procedure.

“It really is the tipping point,” Col. James Lynch, command surgeon for U.S. Special Operations Command Africa in Stuttgart, who has seen firsthand the promising effects of the shot, said about the current trial.
read more here

Does this sound new to you? I bet it doesn't because we already read this "research" back in 2010. Remember this blast from the past?

Stellate Ganglion Blocker Offers Hope for PTSD Treatment only that study came out of New York. I just checked and the link to the report is still live.
By Dr. Jay Adlersberg and Eyewitness News
July 28, 2010 3:17:47 PM PDT
NEW YORK -- All it takes is one loud noise to trigger a flood of awful memories. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) haunts one in every six soldiers coming back from Iraq, and nearly eight million Americans in all. Standard treatment means therapy and medications that don't always work and have side effects. Now, one doctor is treating PTSD with an injection that he says can block the painful memories.

"I was firing a rocket propelled grenade (RPG). When I pulled the trigger, it malfunctioned, and it blew up in the tube. Injured seven marines and killed three, all good friends of mine," said John Sullivan, an Iraq Veteran.

Thirteen surgeries, several skin grafts, and two years of therapy later, Sullivan is in a much more peaceful place, but that doesn't mean he's safe from the effects of war.

"I was riding on a bus with my uncle going to a baseball game, and the tire blew out?started having a panic attack," Sullivan said.

Sullivan was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death. According to the National Center for PTSD, statistics indicate that approximately 7 to 8 percent of people in the United States will likely develop PTSD in their lifetime. For combat veterans and rape victims, the chance of developing PTSD is as high as 30 percent.

Untreated PTSD can have devastating, far-reaching consequences. It can prevent someone from functioning in daily life and can ruin relationships. Economically, PTSD can have significant consequences as well. As of 2005, more than 200,000 veterans were receiving disability compensation for this illness, at a cost of $4.3 billion. This represents an 80-percent increase in the number of military people receiving disability benefits for PTSD.

Anti-anxiety meds didn't work for Sullivan, so he's trying an experimental treatment: an injection to the neck to stop PTSD.
read more here

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Passengers Honor WWII Soldier Sacrifice With Glory!

Choir Sings ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ as WWII Soldier’s Remains Taken off Plane
Free Beacon
BY: Alec M. Dent
July 27, 2016

The Iowa Ambassadors of Music Choir found a unique way to honor a fallen World War II veteran.

The choir was on a flight returning from Germany to the United States, along with an Army private who was escorting the remains of a soldier who fought in World War II. 

After the plane landed in Atlanta, the pilot announced the private would be exiting the plane first, explaining his mission and that he would be continuing his trip to Houston, the fallen soldier’s final destination.
read more here

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Colorado WWII Veteran Meets Holocaust Survivor He Rescued

ABC 11 News
May 18, 2016

A World War II veteran from Colorado was reunited with a Holocaust survivor whom he set free from a concentration camp seven decades ago -- and the emotional moment was captured on camera.

Sid Shafner, 94, is back in the U.S. after a stirring eight-day trip to Israel and Poland last week. He was honored at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony for his hand, as a young troop, in helping to liberate some 30,000 prisoners from the Dachau Concentration Camp in southern Germany in 1945.

One of those prisoners was 19-year-old Marcel Levy, now 90.
read more here

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Perfectly Good Humvees Dumped in Perplexing Parachute "Jump"

Humvees plummet to ground in Hohenfels parachute drop fiasco 
Stars and Stripes 
April 21, 2016 

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — A training mission gone awry resulted in the loss of three Army Humvees during a heavy equipment drop mission last week in Hohenfels. A video circulating on social media shows the vehicles falling out of the back of passing C-130s during a routine training exercise for the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade on April 11. Connected to parachutes, most of the Humvees simply float gently to the ground. But during a second C-130 pass, one of the Humvees disconnects from its chute and is sent hurtling to the ground. A minute later, a second one breaks free from its chute. Then, a third. read more here

Sunday, April 17, 2016

WWI Battle of The Somme Chronicle of PTSD

How shell-shock shaped the Battle of the Somme
The Telegraph UK
Taylor Downing
16 APRIL 2016

'The dreams sir, I dare not go to sleep because I dream so of…’

A shell shock victim staggers back from the front and needs help to work.
Private Arthur Hubbard, a clerk from Streatham in south London, went over the top at 7.30am on 1 July 1916, the bloody first day of the Battle of the Somme. What he experienced over the next few hours changed him forever. He and his unit, the 14th London, a Pals Battalion, got into the German lines that morning.

They had orders not to take prisoners. When three wounded Germans, badly bleeding, emerged from a dugout Hubbard finished them off. Then a British officer was shot by a sniper as he stood by him. Later that afternoon as he withdrew to the British lines, a mass of soil from a nearby shell buried him. His mates eventually dragged him out and back into the lines.

Hubbard’s family next heard from him in a convalescence hospital in Ipswich. He told his mother not to worry, that he was a bit shaky and suffering from 'severe headaches’ but otherwise he was fit and well and would make a quick recovery. Unfortunately Private Hubbard did not recover.

If the daytime was bad enough, at night it grew even worse. Victims would whisper to Steadman, 'The dreams sir, I dare not go to sleep because I dream so of…’ and he would describe the horrific sights he has witnessed, of mates being blown to pieces alongside, of being buried under debris during one of the massive bombardments.

The worst thing for Steadman was having to send the men back to the front when they seemed to have calmed down. He wrote: 'You cannot help them long, just a few days and then back they must go. If they were kept long the hospital would be absolutely crowded out. There would be no men to fight.’
read more here

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fatal Accident Claimed Lives of 2 Army Captains in Germany

2 officers killed in Germany car crash had combat experience
Stars and Stripes
By Jennifer H. Svan
Published: April 13, 2016

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The two soldiers killed in a car crash last week near Landstuhl were young Army officers who had served in combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army has identified the soldiers as Capts. Brandon W. Fuhrman, 30, and Douglas J. Wercinski, 31.

The two were assigned to Headquarters Battery, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, as plans officers, the 10th AAMDC said in a statement.

The soldiers died at the scene of the crash on April 6 on the L363 between Landstuhl and Bann. German police at the time could not determine who was driving the BMW M3, which was found down an embankment in the forest below the road. A woman from Latvia was injured in the crash. One of the men was thrown from the car when it crashed.
read more here

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Hero’s Welcome Group Honors Those Who Served

Father-and-son veterans from Marple saluted for service 
Delaware County Daily Times
By Leslie Krowchenko, Times Correspondent
POSTED: 10/17/15
“I decided that no veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would come home to the same treatment our Vietnam veterans came home to,” wrote Hyland. “It was then that A Hero’s Welcome was born.”

Tina Crognale, a volunteer with A Hero’s Welcome, presented a certificate to
Mike Carroll Sr. in recognition of his service. LESLIE KROWCHENKO — DAILY TIMES
Mike Carroll Sr. wondered what all the fuss was about Saturday morning when he heard sirens and horns on his street.

Little did he know the celebration was for him.

A paratrooper with the 509th Army infantry regiment, Carroll was congratulated for his service in a short ceremony on the front lawn of his house. More than 100 family members, friends and neighbors, some arriving by township police and Delaware County Sheriff’s Department escort, joined in a surprise thank him for his dedication to his country.

“He was one of many people who stepped up and signed on the dotted line,” said Brenda Hecklin, Pennsylvania chapter director of A Hero’s Welcome. “We want to show veterans that they are not forgotten, but are supported and appreciated.”

Founded by Montgomery County resident Sharon Hyland, A Hero’s Welcome was created to provide all veterans with the ticker tape parade-type reception lavished on troops returning from World War II.
The celebration was a “twofer,” said Hecklin, as the group also applauded Carroll’s son, Mike Jr., an Army sergeant who served in Mogadishu, Somalia. He was involved in the overall operation of Black Hawk Down and was awarded the Purple Heart.
read more here

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Army Veteran Shot In Back After Baseball Game

Army Veteran Shot in the Back after Baseball Game May Never Walk Again
Fox News
Sep 29, 2015

An Army vet may never walk again after he was shot in the back while leaving a St. Louis Cardinals home game on Friday.

Candis Sanna, left, and Christopher Sanna in a picture from the family's 
GoFundMe page to help pay for Christopher's medical bills. (GoFundMe)
Christopher Sanna, 43, was struck in his liver, spine and lungs, according to KMOV. His mother, Candis Sanna, posted on a GoFundMe page on Sunday that "surgeons have confirmed that his spinal injury cannot be repaired."

"They said he could eventually get a little feeling back, but there was no hope for him to walk," Candis Sanna told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It’s horrible."

Christopher Sanna was attending the game against the Brewers with his three brothers to celebrate his mom’s 60th birthday. But he had to work Saturday morning at his job as the manager of an automotive store, and so he left the game early, with his girlfriend, while the rest of his family stayed to watch the final inning. As Sanna walked back to his car around 10:30 p.m., two armed male suspects in a black sedan confronted him and his girlfriend.

"After she gave him her purse, [one perpetrator] pulled a gun," Candis Sanna told KMOV. "That’s when they turned to run, and he shot at them twice."

Sanna served six years in the Army, stationed in Germany, according to the Post-Dispatch.
read more here

Mayor, police pledge more officers near Busch Stadium after shooting
Chris Sanna, second from right, poses for a family photo with his mother and brothers at a Cardinals game on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. He was shot during a robbery after leaving the game. Family photo.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Heart Problems and PTSD Connection Linked Years Ago

When will they do a study to find out how stressful it is to keep funding these studies?

This is a study of PTSD and hearts
MUNICH, Germany, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Patients with cardiac defibrillators may have a higher death risk if they have post-traumatic stress disorder, German researchers said.
It was reported by UPI PTSD linked to increased heart death risk and is still an active page showing;
"Our findings provide direct evidence for an independent influence of PTSD symptoms on fatal outcome in these patients," the study authors said in a statement.

The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found those experiencing PTSD symptoms conferred a 2.4-fold long-term age- and sex-adjusted mortality -- death -- risk for patients with implantable cardiac defibrillators.
But if you already checked the links, then you know this report was from 2008.

For years there has been more research on this but we're not talking a decade. We're talking about decades. Now unless the human body has been changed, unless the human mind has been totally rewired and war has changed so much that it caused PTSD to morph into something else, not much results came out of all these repeated research projects.

So here's the latest headline everyone is talking about as if it is something totally new. It ain't new and it hasn't improved for veterans. Gee wonder why that is?
Study adds evidence on link between PTSD, heart disease
In a study of more than 8,000 veterans living in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, those with posttraumatic stress disorder had a nearly 50 percent greater risk of developing heart failure over about a seven-year follow-up period, compared with their non-PTSD peers.

The findings appear in the April 2015 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence linking PTSD and heart disease. The research to date—including these latest findings—doesn't show a clear cause-and-effect relationship. But most experts believe PTSD, like other forms of chronic stress or anxiety, can damage the heart over time.

"There are many theories as to how exactly PTSD contributes to heart disease," says Dr. Alyssa Mansfield, one of the study authors. "Overall, the evidence to date seems to point in the direction of a causal relationship."

Everything in the human body is connected. Get under stress and it causes heart problems. What is more stressful than combat? Easy. Living the rest of your life with PTSD and then getting a load of stuff instead of help. This was reported on the UK Daily Mail about a study done in Massachusetts.
Proof that stress really does cause heart attacks
Adrenaline can increase white blood cell production which can cause ruptures

Extra white blood cells can cause inflammation in people whose arteries are already thickened with plaque

These inflammations can lead to ruptures which can cause heart attack in minutes

Saturday, February 28, 2015

101st Airborne Cases Colors After Liberia Mission

101st Airborne Division cases colors, heads home after successful mission in Liberia
Photo Credit: Spc. Rashene Mincy Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Harris, platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon, Division Signal Company, takes charge of the formation from Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, commanding general of the Joint Forces Command - United Assistance and 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), at the end of the 101st's color casing ceremony held at the Barclay Training Center, Monrovia, Liberia, Feb. 26, 2015.

"The Joint Forces Command worked with our Armed Forces of Liberia partners in building and overseeing constructions of ETUs," Volseky said.

The command built and supported 17 ETUs throughout Liberia, facilities which allowed for a more swift isolation and treatment of Ebola patients.

Building the ETUs was Task Force Rugged, a team led by the 36th Engineer Brigade based out of Fort Hood, Texas, along with the 615th Engineer Company (Horizontal), based out of Fort Carson, Colorado. The 902nd Engineer Battalion, out of Grafenwoehr, Germany, and the 161st engineer Support Company of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, also built the facilities.

Along with construction, Task Force Rugged also improved roads critical to the transportation of equipment and personnel to the ETUs, camps and logistical focus points including airports and sea ports.
The Iron Knights cased their colors Feb. 25, and are steadily redeploying their Soldiers back to Fort Bliss.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wounded Warrior Games in Germany

This is Warrior Transition Battalion,not to be confused with Wounded Warrior Project. The military also has their own programs for the wounded.
Wounded Warriors compete in time trials
86th Airlift Wing
Airman 1st Class Michael Stuart
February 17, 2015
Participants compete in the air rifle portion of the European Regional Warrior Games time trials on Vogelweh Military Complex, Germany, Feb. 12, 2015. The time trials is a competition to see how warriors stack up against their fellow brothers-in-arms on the track and field.
(U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Michael Stuart)

VOGELWEH AIR BASE, Germany - The Warrior Transition Battalion-Europe hosted the European Regional Warrior games time trials for wounded warriors across Europe on Vogelweh Air Base, Feb. 12.

The time trials is a competition to see how warriors stack up against their fellow brothers-in-arms on the track and field.

“A big part of the Warrior Transition Battalion is adaptive sports, which is a part of our recovery process,” said Army Staff Sgt. Ollie Knowland, Warrior Transition Unit wounded warrior. “Every day, the unit does different things to help us recover and this event is one of those efforts.”

Wounded warriors from Baumholder, Kaiserslautern, Wiesbaden, Stuttgart, Vilseck and Grafenwoehr came out to compete in the events.
read more here

Friday, January 30, 2015

Remains of Army Air Forces 1st Lt. James F. Gatlin of Jacksonville Home

Remains of fallen Florida aviator make it home after 70 years 
Tampa Bay Times
By Josh Solomon
Times Staff Writer
January 28, 2015
Four generations of a family gathered on the tarmac of Tampa International Airport Wednesday to welcome home the remains of a long-lost relative.

Nearly 70 years after being shot down over Germany during World War II, U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. James F. Gatlin of Jacksonville was coming home. "We've been waiting for this to happen," said Janda Fussell, 45, of Lithia, granddaughter of Gatlin's oldest surviving first cousin, Wilma Gatlin Shiver, 89.

Fussell never met Gatlin, obviously, but when she read about him and his death, she said she wept. 

"Even though we didn't know him, we've sort of invested ourselves in him. Especially since he was such a hero." Gatlin was co-piloting a B-26C Marauder on Dec. 23, 1944, when German fighters intercepted the plane on its way back from a bombing mission and shot it.

The plane caught fire and crashed near Ahrweiler, a west-German town, south of Cologne and west of Frankfurt, killing Gatlin. He was 25. read more here

Thursday, December 25, 2014

British and German Troops in Afghanistan Remember WWI Christmas Truce

Soldiers in Afghanistan Play Soccer in Memory of WWI Truce
December 24, 2014

German and British troops pose for a photo after a football match to commemorating the Christmas Truce of 1914, at the ISAF Headquarters in Kabul, Dec. 24, 2014.
KABUL— British and German soldiers gathered in a dusty field in Afghanistan on Wednesday to play a game of soccer in memory of a Christmas truce spontaneously called between their armies a century ago during World War I.

That moment in 1914 - when troops along Europe's Flanders front met after four months killing each other to sing carols, exchange gifts and play soccer in No Man's Land - is celebrated as a triumph of humanity over the savagery of war.

A hundred years later, on a military base halfway around the world, the soccer match took place between concrete blast walls in a country where Britain and Germany have spent over a decade in a coalition fighting against the Taliban insurgency.
read more here

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Silent Night of WWI

WWI Christmas Truce still remembered
No shot fired on Dec. 25, 1914, during spontaneous momentary truce
The Associated Press
Posted: Dec 20, 2014
WW1 Christmas Truce
In this image provided by the Imperial War Museum, German and British soldiers stand together on the battlefield near Ploegsteert, Belgium, in December 1914. (IWM/ Associated Press)

With British and German forces separated only by a no-man's land littered with fallen comrades, sounds of a German Christmas carol suddenly drifted across the frigid air: Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (Silent Night, Holy Night).

Then, during that first Christmas Day in the First World War, something magical happened.

Soldiers who had been killing each other by the tens of thousands for months climbed out of their soggy, muddy trenches to seek a shred of humanity amid the horrors of war.

Hands reached out across the narrow divide, presents were exchanged, and in Flanders Fields a century ago, a spontaneous Christmas truce briefly lifted the human spirit.

"Not a shot was fired," Lt. Kurt Zehmisch of the 134th Saxony regiment wrote with amazement in his diary that Christmas.

On the other side of the front line, Pvt. Henry Williamson of the London Rifle Brigade was amazed by the goodwill among his enemies. "Yes, all day Xmas Day and as I write. Marvelous, isn't it?"

Few could be believe their eyes, especially on this mud-caked patch of Belgium and northern France where crimson poppies had long ago shrivelled in the cold.

Peace allowed for corpses to be recovered from the fields and given a proper burial. Fighting continued in many other places on the front line. But it was a momentary peace in a war that would last for nearly four more years.
read more here

How Silent Night became the song that stopped World War I