Wednesday, December 16, 2015

49. Christmas in Gettysburg in 1945

Christmas, 1945 was a very special time for millions of people in our Country. World War II was over, and those who had served in the armed forces here or overseas were welcomed home. For some, it had been three years or more since loved ones were together at Christmas.

Bing Crosby sang the most popular song in December, 1945, and it expressed the sentiment of many when he sang, 
“Kiss me once and kiss me twice, and kiss me once again. It’s been a long, long time.”
I was in the Marine Corps from 1952 until 1955, and during that time, Nancy and I spent every Christmas apart. It was a painful experience, but my life was never threatened like those who served during the war.

Nancy’s uncle who served as a chaplain in Italy and Germany, was discharged in August of 1945, and my Dad, who was a Seabee, was discharged in December of  that year. It was a very happy Christmas for both families.

While millions of Americans celebrated the Holidays with loved ones when World War II ended, there were others mourning the loss of  loved ones who never came home. Many would return, not as they left, but with serious injuries suffered in service of our Country. 

Nancy and I continue to observe Christmas in Gettysburg as participants in the National Wreath Project sponsored by the Sgt. Mac Organization. Each December we help decorate Christmas wreaths and place them on the graves in the National Cemetery. Members of the family we dreamed about when we fell in love in the Forties join us for this memorable experience.

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