Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 1942

For many years now my family has had a tradition of having a celebration on Boxing Day. We have a dinner complete with crackers and plum pudding. This year's plum pudding is shown in the picture below. After dinner everyone must perform a party piece. You can sing a song, play an instrument, show some of your handiwork or tell a story.

A few years before he died my father wrote out in long hand and told the story I am about to relate on Boxing Day for his party piece. This year while we were preparing for Boxing Day my daughter found the story he had written in a drawer with some other things we often use on Boxing Day. The story follows with a little editing on my part.

In November,1942 my father made the invasion of North Africa as part of an automatic weapons battalion. By Christmas they were still in the Casablanca area, charged with the antiaircraft defense of the harbor and the airfield. What follows is his story:

“After leaving one of our 40mm gun crews at about 10 PM I was traveling to my bivouac area to go to bed. No lights on the Jeep-war time-no-no at night. We did not need the lights. The moon was putting on a bright, bright show. It was Christmas Eve. As we were slowly moving on, we came to a scene out of Biblical times. There in a field on the side of the road was an Arab guiding a plow pulled by a camel and a donkey. We, of course, stopped to look and watch. With the Christmas star so close and the moon so bright, with an Arab, donkey and camel performing the same as in the days before Christ, I felt very close to what the birth of Christ should mean to all people. We sat and watched the three plow the field for a few minutes. About midnight German bombers operating from Seville, Spain sprinkled the harbor and airfield with bombs. One gun crew was mud splattered from an exploding bomb but there were no injuries.

I continue to recall the North Africa scene and believe more than ever the wonderful message and meaning of the birth of our Savior.”

I am so glad to have found this. He was not a person who expressed his religious beliefs vocally very often, so it is doubly good to have this written in his own hand. Thanks Dad.

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