A late-night post on this, the eve of our second wartime Christmas. After the buying and the decorating of the tree, the flurry of shopping and wrapping of presents, the eggnog and cards and parties, Warrior Woman and I found time to sit by the glow of a candle-lit creche and reflect on the passing year. And while my wife prefers medieval Christmas music, I go for the Bing Crosby/Frank Sinatra style of holiday cheer; so it was this night that the voices of the early Kings of Pop filled our Manhattan apartment.
One particular CD featured a 1942 recording of Crosby singing “White Christmas” on his radio program. After the final note of Irving Berlin’s classic tune, he closes out the show by urging his listeners to remember that
the greatest gift we can give to our soldiers are War Bonds. They’re fighting for the day when Christmas dawns in a world of peace–so let’s let them know we’re behind them with everything we’ve got.
It’s not the only recording I have like that–another has Der Bingle opening a version of “Silent Night” by telling the listening troops, Next year, pray God, all of you will be singing this at your own fireplaces, around your own trees. At the end of the song, we hear ringing bells, and Bob Hope comes on. Hear that? he asks.
The bells of Christmas ring out clear and free around the world to you. Listen to them. Their message is coming from the hearts of 132 million grateful Americans, peace on earth, good will to men–and Merry Christmas to all of you.
Different time, different war, different celebrities. Still, there’s not much one can add to those sentiments. Despite sixty years and twice the population, what Bing and Bob said to the troops fighting across the globe holds true today, for soldiers ranging from Kabul to Baghdad and beyond. The bells of Christmas are indeed ringing for these men and women, and a message is coming from the hearts of the American people. Merry Christmas, God bless, stay safe, come home.
Posted by Steven Vincent