The Christmas Spirit

German and British troops celebrating Christmas together during a temporary cessation of WWI hostilities known as the Christmas Truce.

British and German soldiers lay down their guns to sing Christmas carols on December 25, 1914.

How could this happen?  Pope Benedict XV encouraged a Christmas truce but the idea was rejected.  But the Christmas miracle began on Christmas Eve as men on both sides began to sing carols in their native language.  Below is a first hand account:

“First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing ­– two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”

The next morning, men from both sides emerged from the trenches shouting “Merry Christmas” and joining each other on the stretch of land between the enemies called “No man’s land.” These soldiers who were shooting at each other just a day or two ago, now were exchanging gifts of cigarettes and chocolate.  This moment was not peace but only a truce was also  a moment for both sides to bury its dead. The shooting began again on December 26.

But for a few moments enemies lay down their guns and hatred.  The soldiers accomplished something the Pope and their generals could not do.

Even “The War to End All Wars”  was not powerful enough to “Kill the Christmas Spirit!”


Posted in blog, blogging, Britain, England, France, Religions of the World, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Handel’s Messiah

The New Music Hall on Fishamble Street, Dublin where The Messiah was first performed 1742.

Portrait of Georg Friedrich Händel by John Faber (c. 1695-1756) after Thomas Hudson (1709-1779)

George Frederic Handel

For many people attending a performance of The Messiah is the beginning of the Christmas Season.  The ancient scriptures set to the elegant Baroque music, with a full choir, and  substantial orchestra has become one of the best known and most popular choral works of the Western World.

The story is that of Jesus Christ in three parts.  The first is the coming and birth of Christ. The second is His death on the cross  and the  Ascension into heaven, finally  is the Resurrection and glorification in heaven. In 1741 London,  this scripture text  received modest reception.  Handle was known for his Italian operatic  style  which was  out of favor at the time. With his  popularity at a low point, he accepted an invitation to Dublin and began preparing for the  premiere  performance. Handel not only conducted, but he also played the organ. It was met with much acclaim.  Musicians of Dublin still regard this performance a high point of their cultural musical history.

A tradition of the audience standing at the Hallelujah  Chorus was rumored to have been started by King James.  It has no historical proof  but  the  tradition of standing at the first notes of that rousing piece continues 300 years hence.

Treat yourself to the quieting and inspiring  oratorio either in person or on the internet. It will put in focus “The Reason for the Season!”






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A STAR IS BORN. . . . 2018 film

One of my friends reminded me that I had not  blogged a film review recently. She said she enjoyed  the filter through my eyes of the fall release of grown-up films  She was right so here go  my thoughts of a story told  four times in film history  starting in 1937 and continuing in 1954, 1976 and 2018. A Star is Born. . . . .

Many big themes  fill the screen for 135 minutes with love being the all encompassing,  love and music,love and  ambition, love and honesty, love and vulnerability.

With birth comes pain and the film doesn’t shy away from that . . . the pain that comes with life and self- destruction and addiction.

The music is theater filling.  Bradley Cooper spent 18 months learning to play the guitar and reaching the proper tone in his voice.  He is very convincing and there is Lady Gaga. . . .  . her voice , her music, her acting. . . A Star Is Born. . . . .

I remember the Streisand/Kristofferson  film from 1976 and  will watch it again with new eyes.

Cooper is also  the director and a fine job he did.  Very interesting that in the credits Lady Gaga was given star billing over Bradley Cooper and it is her first film.

It is now 24 hours since I saw the 2018  moving remake and the music and different details are fresh in my mind.  I feel vulnerable from experiencing the vulnerability of this film. Enough said. .  . . .

Posted in film, music, piano, Rock'n'Roll, Uncategorized, USA | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Watkins Glen New York

Image result for images of Watkins Glen NY

Watkins Glen will forever have a place in racing history.  On October 2, 1948, it became  the first post World War II race in America  hosted in the quiet village streets. Today, visitors can drive the original 6.6 mile Grand Prix course anytime on public roads after visiting   the Visitor Center, signing in, and picking up a map.

Today Watkins Glen International is  one of  the premier road racing facilities in  the world and located just 4 miles from  downtown Watkins Glen.  It is know worldwide as “The Glen.”

For me, a fall visit to this amazing gorge with water, falls, spray, steps and the view of 19 falls along the Gorge Walk is my reason for visiting  The Glen.  In the spring and summer, it is almost always crowded so a fall visit before it closes November 1 is preferable.  The drive down the western side of Seneca Lake  seeing the beautiful farms,  and vineyards  is a vivid reminder that there is more to New York State than the amazing “City” downstate.  Consider a visit to Central New York, but not in the  many and  snow-filled  months of winter!



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Remembering 9/11/01


It was a  Tuesday and a crystal clear fall morning, September 11, 2001.  My sixth graders were in art first period, and I was doing planning for the week. The principal  popped in and  said, “Turn on your TV!”  Seeing  the now famous images hit me like a ton of bricks, as well as disbelief. My head was swimming, filled with questions, and I was dizzy with it all.  Hurrying down to collect my class, another thought hit even closer to home.  My son and daughter-in-law live in New York.  Are they safe…out of harms way?  Neither of them worked in the WTC, but the  nature of the city and the world’s business is that people are out and about having meetings all over.   I ran to get my phone and got a busy signal!  A few minutes later, I tried again…busy …still.  This happened over and over.  These phones we had for emergencies didn’t  work when I was experiencing the biggest emergency in my life.  This was the situation with the phones for hours  because the cell tower was on the top of one of the twin towers.  There was no personal communication  available.


Parents began to come to get their kids ,as at that point, we had no details. Would there be more attacks?  Was this beginning of a huge war?  The school was called together in the church for scriptures, prayers and music.  It was comforting.  Someone told me that the reason that the phone was busy, busy. . . the cell tower was hit and down. We went through the motions and sometimes just sat quietly and still ,watching  both towers fall.I hadn’t heard a word from my son….I prayed silently.  Stories were circulated in the school of parents who were in the City for meetings that fateful day. Where were they? Were they safe?  More people to pray for.  No answers, just those dreadful pictures. . . . .


Then at 12:30 the secretary came to my room.  Chris had called….if he called , he was alive! Thank God. Both he and his wife were safe and unharmed. He had been in West Chester that morning and his wife worked in mid-town near Grand Central Station.  He was not able to call because of the trouble with the cell phones.


Later, I would hear stories, mostly from my daughter-in-law.  People in her office had noticed the second plane flying low  past their window. It was a surprise and a wonder as flights over mid-town are not allowed. Soon they found out about its dastardly mission.  She said it was announced fairly quickly that the island  of Manhattan was going on lock down. No one could leave or enter over the bridges, through the tunnels, or in the trains until it was deemed safe to travel.  Friends in the office, who lived in Manhattan, invited  others  to come to their place. Someone  noticed the senior  partner had gone into his office and locked the door.  He would not answer the questions of “What shall we do, stay or go?” When the workers left, he was still in his office, paralyzed by the situation.


Later she told me that the streets were filled with sirens, shrieking  and wailing continuously.  After a few hours, it was deemed safe to open the transportation and Demone was waiting for a train to Sleepy Hollow from Grand Central.  There was a large commotion and people started running and screaming.  Someone had yelled,  “Bomb!’ and the nervous crowd had gone crazy. It turned out that this was a hoax….can you believe anyone could be so cruel?

A cab driver, I spoke to  a few weeks later, told me he was driving that day.  He remembers the sirens, and horns honking, honking continuously.  People were using their cars as weapons slamming into others to squeeze through the nearly stopped traffic.  Cars were scrapping into the  guardrails  trying to escape. There were stories of people walking for miles, some just wandering aimlessly.

When the kids met up at home, they decided to go to the hospital and give blood. At that time, people thought it would be needed and wanted to do something.  They stood in a huge, non-moving line for 8 hours, to learn that little emergency blood was needed because of the  lack of survivors.s01_H6880853

At one point, I was struck with the question  if there had been school children on the roof. But thankfully, I remembered that it didn’t  open until 10:00 as I explained yesterday. On my way home, I went to CVS and saw the mother of a student who had gone on one of my trips to New York. We both cried with the remembrances of that wonderful trip, that she said her daughter still talked about, and the sudden, swift, horror of this day!

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President Bush had suggested that at 7 pm, people stand on their porches with a lit candle to signify “the light the US wished to shine in a dark world.” We did it, which  surprised me that my husband agreed.  He is not very emotional or sentimental, but he stood next to me with tears running down his face, holding his candle high.

Later I was lying in bed unable to sleep with all sorts of images, and words, and questions filling my brain and refusing to be turned off.  This day 90 different countries  had lost citizens just trying to do their work.  And my last grateful  thought was of Chris calling to tell me that he and Demone were safe and well. He knew, of course, that I would be worried out of my mind.  I suddenly thought of all those Mamas all over the world from 90 countries, with  almost 3000 children who  were unable to call to say, “Mom, I am alive and safe!” For ages, I remembered that daily, and would pray for comfort for those dear women. Today, I pray for them ,who have not forgotten and never will, this day when their hearts shattered to pieces,  9/11/01!



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God Bless America

People all over the world have a story of 9/11/01, where they were and how they learned of this world wide tragedy. I would love to hear your tale.  


About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne

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19 Responses to My Story . . . . . . . . 9/11/01

  1. Dr. Rex says:

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    A personal story, one of the many ….. Remembering!


    • annetbell says:

      Many thanks Doc!


      • Dr. Rex says:

        I was are work that day. I worked as a physician with the VA in Jacksonville, Florida. I was taking care of patients that morning. I didn’t see the it’s plane hit ….. The TV was on in the waiting room … all those waiting saw and the news spread. When I finished the patient I had, I went out. I couldn’t believe was I was weeping. To me it was a movie that was being played over and over again. Then I saw the 2nd plane! I saw that one hot and then slowing, in agonizing loss motion, saw the buildings collapse. A day that will be etched in. My memory forever. Yet …. I had to go back to work ….. I didn’t want to. I want to stay glued to the tv. Needless to say … I was glued toot when I got home after work. I never imagine where that tragic event would take us. Never forget, never forgotten!!

        Liked by you

      • annetbell says:

        T hanks for sharing Doc.


      • Dr. Rex says:

        Welcome!! 🙂


  2. shaunynews says:

    I was at home with my friends playing a computer game when I got a call “Turn on Sky News” Within 10 minutes we seen the 2nd plane hit. We all just sat there silent as the day passed, over here in tiny Edinburgh the sound of an plane put us on edge. Whatever happened that day, take away all the mystery and stories from police and firefighters who said they heard a LOT of bombs..

    ….Thousands of people died.
    Effecting 10’s of thousands of lives all over the World..

    The day that changed our World..for the worst.

    Great post Anne, very brave to share this..

    Shaun ❤

    Liked by you

  3. I was pregnant with Ben and watching it on telly here 😦


  4. What a story Anne. I’m so glad that your loved ones were safe … And so sad for those who weren’t. James and I had just returned from an 8-month round-the-world trip. My sister, who works for a TV station, called us and said, “Turn on your TV.” We couldn’t believe our eyes. We had been to some treacherous places on our trip, but nothing compared to this. Thanks for the thought-provoking post. ~Terri


    • annetbell says:

      Terri, how good to hear from you. I think you hit the nail on the head with that feeling that we all had that “this couldn’t happen here!” We each have a story and thanks for sharing yours!


  5. annetbell says:

    Reblogged this on TalesAlongTheWay and commented:

    Every year after 9/11/01, I would share this story with my class. This is a sad event in the history of the world. Today, I reblog My Story for you my readers!


  6. ShaunyNews says:

    Brilliant read….
    I can’t reblog it Anne.. x

    Liked by you

    • annetbell says:

      I was having trouble with finding the reblog until I finally saw it saw it at the very end , under the likes. . . at least on my computer. Thought of you when the Scottish pipers with the drummers help memorialize the sad day!

      Liked by 1 person

      • ShaunyNews says:

        Yeah I watched a little today and had a tear in my eye when the pipes of peace started to blow. I seen 100 people blog about being there, so thought best to just respect and share others blogs…
        There is no visible ‘Reblog’ on your page I can see anywhere sadly…

        Good read however!!


  7. Pingback: My Story . . . . . . . . 9/11/01 | Politicalbaaba (Edit)

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Amazing Grace. . . . . .

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, sky, outdoor, water and nature

Thank you to all of you who prayed for my granddaughter, Grace. In the video you will  hear about her day on September 15, 2017.  The picture was taken in May 2018.  She is a walking miracle.  Grace’s story starts at 4:10 on the video. 

Katie Bell shared a post.

About 2 months ago, Grace was asked to share her story for a video that AMC would use as a fundraising tool for the new pediatric ED. If you know Grace, you know that she is quiet and reserved and really doesn’t like a lot of attention. The only way we could get her to agree to it is if we did the talking – which sort of negates the whole thing – but in the end she shares some of her experience. She is so brave and we are bursting with pride. We will never, ever, ever be able to repay AMC for saving Grace’s life – so we did this. It’s our hope that AMC can use her compelling story to raise money for this very important project. The video is 8 minutes long and you will need to hear from Sergio and Lynn first – they have an important story too.



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June 5 Memorial Jump in Normandy

 June 5th, 2018 D-Day Jump

On June 5th 2018, the memorial D-Day reenactment jump at La Fiere was dedicated in George B. Tullidge III’s honor. Anne Bell provided copies of A Paratrooper’s Faith for all of those jumping that day. Below is a message we received from Mike Gibbons, one of the jumpers that day.

The Association of Partroopers that jumped is The Round Canopy Parachute Team. According to Eric Ladourdette of France, they left from the Upottery airport which had not been used for 74 years. This airport was used by the famous Band Of Brother 506 PIR of 101 Airborne on the D day .

Thulai van Maanen of the Netherlands arranged a flower arrangement and waited for the jumpers on the dropzone to tell GBT’s story to the group. After their jump and after GBT’s story the booklets were handed out to the jumpers by 101st Airborne and WW2 veteran Vincent Speranza. After this small ceremony the Round Canopy Parachuting Team placed the flower arrangement at the La Fiere Monument. Thulia left GBT’s picture there too.

Thulai has been a family friend for many years and shared this wonderful picture with us. This is the monument at La Fiere.

This is a message we received from Mike Gibbons of the UK.  He was a member of the jump team on June 5, 2018.

I am very proud to have a link to George B. Tullidge. I was unaware of him and his legacy until the 5th of June this year when  I  and members of the RCPT (Round Canopy Parachuting Team) jumped into the La Fiere Bridge /St Mere E’glise, Normandy, France DZ , (drop zone) 74 years to the day after GBT and his brave comrades.

Afterwards we were presented a copy of “A Paratrooper’s Faith.” In a quiet moment shortly after, I started to read through it and I understood how this small booklet had helped GBT and 1000’s of soldiers in the years and wars since his mother and sister Anne started sending them out. I’m a combat vet myself. I thought of all the lads who had read the words before me and I could imagine the strength and comfort it gave them during difficult times in war and after.

I felt I had to contact Anne and thank her and let her know how important I thought this small book was and how it had touched me and alot of my army friends I showed it to. I decided I wanted to visit George and two weeks ago I did. I wrote a few words in a booklet and gave GBT salute. I felt happy to have visited and felt I’d completed a circle I did not know existed a month ago.


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