On Saturday 6 December 2014, a monument was unveiled at the Peace Village in Messines to commemorate the Christmas Truce.
On Christmas 1914, German and English soldiers scrambled out of the trenches to celebrate Christmas with the enemy. To the dismay of the generals on both sides, the soldiers played a game of football on the front line and sang "Silent Night" together.
It took the army command a lot of effort to get the soldiers back into fighting mode.
One hundred years after the historic competition, a British and a German school decided to forge a bond of friendship and set up a project to commemorate the event. The idea to design the Christmas Truce Monument was born.
The monument had to have a clear link with historical reality.
A football could not be missed and the first sentence of "Silent Night, Holy Night" is also on the monument. Both sides of the front line then sang the famous song together.
The Christmas Truce was a clear sign that the common people did not want war.
The monument was inaugurated in the presence of the British and German ambassadors to Belgium together with some members of the European Parliament.
Source: Peace Village
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- Text: Marie-Christine Vinck
- Photos: Marie-Christine Vinck