The words of Pvt. Russel E. Albrecht about Christmas in a foxhole at the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944: “On Christmas Eve…of course, I’m saying Christmas Eve, but we didn’t know it was Christmas Eve, we had no idea what day it was or anything else…we had, you know, two days of bombing already from our own planes, and we were black from the dust from that and everything else. There was always shooting going on and sirens blaring in the distance from nearby towns. With all that going on, we were half frozen and couldn’t feel our legs.
“Then, all of a sudden, pretty close to midnight everything got quiet, just as quiet as could be, and there weren’t any shells going off, no sirens sounding. I looked up, and one star was so doggone bright, you wouldn’t believe it. You’d have to go through it…but it just shown like…of, I tell you…and I told the sergeant, “Look up there. Look at that star!” Of course, you remember, we didn’t think it was Christmas. That was farthest from our minds. “Look at that star! Man, oh, man, I never have seen one like that.” I believed the war had ended because everything was so quiet. We were just kind of stumped.
“Then the buzzer buzzed on the phone, “Hey, you guys down there, there’s somebody going to come down to the hole so don’t get trigger happy!” We looked up. We could see a little movement up the hill. Some guy…he evidently had a white outfit on…he lay in the snow, and it was just like he swam down the hill to us. Pretty soon he got to us, and he just got up to our hole. He had two socks, one for each of us. He said, “Merry Christmas, fellows. I’m going to get the hell out of here!” He turned right around and started crawling back up through the snow to get up in the bushes again.
“We looked and said, “Well, my gosh, this is Christmas Eve!” We never realized it. You know, right then that real bright star just brought something to my noodle…I thought somebody was saying, “Hey, I haven’t forgotten you yet. Don’t worry about that. I’m still watching.” That just what it seemed like…something special did that.”
Excerpt from Finding Foxholes, by Faye Berger (North Star Press 2014)
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