3 Notable American Christmases
At Top Choice, we love America. Sure, we are flawed. Who isn’t? We have our ignominious moments. Who doesn’t? I know I do. But, despite those moments, we have some incredible, awe-inspiring, breathtaking, heart warming, human moments. Here are three that occurred on Christmas or Christmas Eve. As a side note, at Top Choice we start our weekly meetings with “This Day in History” – John will give us an event that happened on “this day in history” and we all guess the year. Closest wins.
Washington Crosses the Delaware – 1776
This is a famous scene. When I see it, I am inspired…then I think…that must have been soo cold. I bet his troops were pissed when he told them the plan for the attack. Side note – a lot of the troops couldn’t swim. When I look at the famous painting, I wonder, “Did GW really stand there like that?” I doubt it. He seems like the kind of guy that helped paddle.
Before this battle, the revolutionary war was tenuous. I won’t try to recount it here, but I will share one line written by Thomas Paine. The pamphlet was distributed in the week prior to this and had a marked effect on the troops.
“These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
The attack was bold. It was unexpected. It was a bit desperate. And… what matters when it comes to history? It worked….
On Christmas night 1776, George Washington led crossed the Delaware and kept the idea of America alive.
Christmas day truce – 1914
I highly recommend the podcast, Hard Core History, and specifically the series on World War I (it is called Blueprint for Armageddon). It is raw and powerful. War is always horrible, but WWI was a turning point in history where we as human kind entered the era of “total war”. Everything was fair game – chemical warfare, civilian casualties, etc. It was hell. But in the midst of this horror there was a moment of humanity. Troops on both sides came out of the trenches and met in “no-man’s land”. One day they are killing each other. The next they are playing soccer, smoking cigarettes, singing songs and more. The following they are killing each other again. I have a couple of thoughts…
- Who was the first guy? What were they thinking? Why? How?
- What was the 26th like? They knew each others’ names and faces.
- Humans are crazy and our actions defy explanation. Humans.
We orbited the moon – Apollo 8 – 1968
We did it. We orbited the moon. This picture is a famous picture of “earthrise”. Can you imagine being the first people around the moon? That is insane. And they did it with less technology than I have in my iPhone. That is even more insane. The names of the astronauts: Frank Bormann, James Lovell, and William Anders. What do you think they talked about as they came around to the “dark side of the moon” for the first time? I bet they were cracking jokes.
So there you have it. There are 3 notable American Christmases. I am proud to be part of this country.
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