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Friday, December 19, 2008

"I'll be home for Christmas...if only in my dreams."

As a child, I loved to sing along with Christmas carols like "I'll Be Home For Christmas." They seemed sentimental and romantic, as I snuggled into the warm glow of our little house. But I also remember my mother telling me these same songs made her sad, because they reminded her of growing up during wartime. It never occurred to me until she clued me in that the person who would only be home for Christmas in his dreams was, in fact, a soldier, although the song has certainly taken on other meanings through the years.

All of us are painfully aware that many American soldiers won't be home for the holidays this year.
If you know of a soldier who would appreciate a care package from kindly folks back home, our local VFW post would like to know. Pick up a yellow form at the Library (1st or 4th floor) to request a delivery to your friend or family member. The same form has a list of needed items you can donate: bring them to the blue barrel on the Library's 1st floor. Monetary donations are also needed, as the packages cost roughly $9.00 to mail. If you can't make it to the Library, you can still send in your friend's name or make a donation. Just call VFW Post #2992 at 847-296-9878 or email them at They can provide all the details and will make your the soldier in your life gets a nice surprise.

A Soldier's Wish List
(this is a sampling - pick up a list for complete details): Personal items like:
  • Lip balm
  • Baby wipes
  • Toothpaste/toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Nail clippers
  • Antacid tablets
  • Hand-held games
  • Batteries
  • Detergent
  • Pocket-sizes tissues
  • Hand/foot warmers
  • Snacks like mints, Chex Mix, Pringles, Nuts, hard candy, granola bars, microwave popcorn and much, much more! Please pick up a list today and bring some holiday joy to a soldier who cannot be home for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, and all the celebrations we enjoy this time of year.
A little note about "I'll Be Home For Christmas" from the Library of Congress Web site:

"On October 4, 1943, (Bing) Crosby recorded 'I'll Be Home for Christmas' with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra for Decca Records. Within about a month of its being copyrighted the song hit the music charts and remained there for eleven weeks, peaking at number three. The following year, the song reached number nineteen on the charts. It touched a tender place in the hearts of Americans, both soldiers and civilians, who were then in the depths of World War II, and it earned Crosby his fifth gold record. 'I'll Be Home for Christmas' became the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows in both Europe and the Pacific and Yank, the GI magazine, said Crosby accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era."
Read the full article here.

The photograph above is also from the Library of Congress, showing the Washington D.C. Christmas rush in 1941 as eager soldiers waited for buses to take them home.

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite possessions is a faded telegram from my father to my mother sent when he landed in NYC on a troop ship on Christmas Eve, 1944. He was on his way home to us. He closed with "oceans of love," in reference to a very long voyage from India and very much in tune with his sense of humor.


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