10 November 2007

a day for armistice

With Veterans Day arriving tomorrow (most of the world calls it Armistice Day), I've been confronted with inconsistent themes. One is the commercial for the Macy's Veterans Day sale--a happy thirty seconds with bouncy people and bouncy music. The obligatory nod to the meaning of the day comes at the end, when we're cheerfully ordered to "march" in for savings.

The other theme comes in the quite excellent film, Joyeux Noel ("Merry Christmas"), Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Film in 2006. I watched it this evening. It tells the story of the spontaneous ceasefire between French and Scottish soldiers on one side and Germans on the other. It happens in 1914, during the first Christmas of World War 1. The movie portrays both the character of that particular war, as well as some of the insanity that is the essence of war itself. We see what happens to them when all of their superiors hear about their decision to forego slaughtering each other on the day of Christ's nativity.

I liked the football match (that's "soccer" for us Americans), in which the Germans win handily. Afterwards, we learn that some of them play for Bayern Munich.

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