Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas, My Friend

Sunny - Hi 61 Lo 37 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 59 Lo 31 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Rainy - Hi 50 Lo 27 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Judy Garland

Something about this song... not just the melody, but the lyrics, and not just that... others have covered the song since... including my beloved Frank Sinatra... but there is an undercurrent of sadness and desperation in the voice of this young 20 something Judy Garland that no one else has been able to capture... not even when she sang this song in later years does it match the melancholy of this version... Maybe it was the time and place... 1943... Our country was at war on two fronts, everyone back home was making all kinds of sacrifices... Our young men were asked to do unthinkable things to keep the home front safe. The song appeared in a movie called Meet Me in St. Louis (one I don't have and would very much like to have)... The movie was released around Thanksgiving of 1944... some of the darkest days of World War II--- we had suffered 500,000 casualties by the time the movie premiered; the Battle of the Bulge was just a few weeks away; plans for an atomic bomb were well underway... Yes, the musical was set at the turn of the century with lots of wonderful songs... Margaret O'Brien stole every scene she was in... but the scene that makes my heart stop... Judy is obviously in period costuming... she is singing to Margaret... or wait... is Judy singing to young men in uniform far from home in harms way? Yes, I believe she is... They are 18, 19, 20, 30, 40 years old...our sons, our brothers and our fathers... Judy is expressing the sadness of those that can not be together this special time of year... They are our first loves, our fiances, and our husbands and they are cold and wet or maybe they are in a hot humid climate where malaria runs rampant... either backdrop... they are far from home at Christmas...



Remember our troops at Christmas. Raise a glass to them and bow your heads and thank God for them... ask Him to keep them safe.

Ramble:

The first time I read this, was many years ago. My
Uncle Charlie sent it to me. I tear up every time I read it.

Merry Christmas, My Friend

‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live.

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi, and goodnight.

- Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt,
USMC, 1986

*** Lastly, there was no one more committed to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines than Bob Hope... I have no doubt he is putting on a USO show in heaven...


(please make sure the Sunday song has stopped playing before starting this video.)





World War II.net


Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
Next year all
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
Next year all
our troubles will be miles away.

Once again as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Will be near to us once more.

Someday soon
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Until then will have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself A merry little Christmas now.


Merry Christmas!

5 comments:

Laura said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Cathy!

Best wishes and Happy New Year,
Laura

DAKOTARANGER said...

Merry Christmas and may God bless us all

Peakah said...

Merry Christmas Cathy!

blackops said...

Cathy, Merry Christmas to you and your family--may you and yours have a Happy New Year too!!

DragonLady said...

I didn't get by Christmas, but have a very Happy New Year!