Belleau Wood by Garth Brooks

It goes without saying for people that know me, Garth Brooks is pretty much my all time favorite artist/musician. I have listened to some of his albums over and over and over again, for months at a time, it’s amazing the CDs have not worn out!! I have been fortunate enough to have been able to see him in concert on a couple of different occasions over the years, the most recent was his return to touring after retiring from performing in order to raise his children, in Boston, January 2015 with my best friend. It was AWESOME!!!

Sevens by Garth BrooksOne of my favorite Christmas-y songs of his is “Belleau Wood” from his 1997 Sevens album. I remember when I bought the album, I was living down in Charlottesville, VA on a horse farm and I was living alone in an old mobile home. I purchased the album as a birthday present to myself that year and played that album and this song repeatedly for months! But especially during the Christmas season, I remember listening to it as I wrapped Christmas presents to send to my family that year.

The imagery in the lyrics of the fictional battle account in the song is based on the Christmas truce phenomenon (not on the actual Battle of Belleau Wood) of 1914 and gives me goose bumps every time I listen to it.

The Christmas truce was a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front around Christmas 1914. In the week leading up to the holiday, German and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In areas, men from both sides ventured into no man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing.

This year during the Christmas season, as in many years past, I will (and already have) spend many pleasant moments listening to this song over and over again.

Oh, the snowflakes fell in silence
Over Belleau Wood that night
For a Christmas truce had been declared
By both sides of the fight
As we lay there in our trenches
The silence broke in two
By a German soldier singing
A song that we all knew

Though I did not know the language
The song was “Silent Night”

Then I heard my buddy whisper,
“All is calm and all is bright”
Then the fear and doubt surrounded me
‘Cause I’d die if I was wrong
But I stood up in my trench
And I began to sing along

Then across the frozen battlefield
Another’s voice joined in
Until one by one each man became
A singer of the hymn

Then I thought that I was dreaming
For right there in my sight
Stood the German soldier
‘Neath the falling flakes of white
And he raised his hand and smiled at me
As if he seemed to say
Here’s hoping we both live
To see us find a better way

Then the devil’s clock struck midnight
And the skies lit up again
And the battlefield where heaven stood
Was blown to hell again

But for just one fleeting moment
The answer seemed so clear
Heaven’s not beyond the clouds
It’s just beyond the fear

No, heaven’s not beyond the clouds
It’s for us to find it here

Today’s post is in response to a weekly event at The Broken Spine called Wednesday’s Lyrics.

The idea is to post song lyrics to a song that has inspired or moved you. As well as a brief reason why you chose your particular song.