BAINBRIDGE – Bainbridge Island Football Club became the first American soccer youth organization to participate in the “Peace Field Twinning” program, part of the larger National Children’s Football Alliance’s Peace Field project, earlier this month.
Tom Burgess, representing the NCFA organization presented the plaque to Bill Lesko, BIFC President, at Battle Point Park on Sunday, Oct. 2.
Supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund and the NCFA, the Peace Field Twinning program provides youth soccer clubs the opportunity to “twin” their designated areas of play with the site of the historic 1914 Christmas Truce and celebrate peace through reflecting on a unique and endearing moment in history that continues to inspires humanitarianism.
From www.history.com: “On Dec. 7, 1914, Pope Benedict XV suggested a temporary hiatus of the war for the celebration of Christmas. The warring countries refused to create any official cease fire, but on Christmas the soldiers in the trenches declared their own unofficial truce.
“…many German and British troops sang Christmas carols to each other across the lines, and at certain points the Allied soldiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing. At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no man’s land, calling out ‘Merry Christmas’ in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed, they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good natured game of soccer.”
The plaque recognizing BIFC and Battle Point Park is mounted there at the turf fields.