As Christmas approaches, I have pulled memories related to me by vets and included in my books.
During World War II, troops stationed overseas were often unable to observe Christmas celebrations. In fact, in December 1944 troops were engaged in one of the bloodiest battles of the war — Battle of the Bulge.
George Buhler of Berne, Ind. recalls sleeping for weeks in foxholes in Belgium and Germany during the Battle of the Bulge. “It was cold and brutal,” he said. “The cold caused frostbite for many GIs. We lost a lot of people to the battle. There was a lot of misery.” (We Fought to Win: American World War II Veterans Share Their Stories)
Note: The design at the top of this blog post is a Christmas card he managed to send home to family.
For three months during the Battle of the Bulge, Bob Foster, a 1940 graduate of Bluffton High School (Indiana), endured one of the coldest winters on record. “We fought while sleeping in foxholes filled with snow ,” he said. “Many soldiers froze to death.” (We Fought to Win: American World War II Veterans Share Their Stories)
In December 1944 villagers in Taunton, England invited hospital staff, including American nurse Polly (Woodhull) Lipscomb to a Christmas reception & dinner. “It was good food and we enjoyed getting to know the villagers,” she said. (They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans)
Paul Bandelier of Fort Wayne was aboard the medical ship USS Relief as a corpsman one Christmas during the war. He listened to holiday music played on vinyl records while opening a package from home. “I got a Christmas card from Dad, wool scarf and cookie crumbs,” he said. (We Gave Our Best: American WWII Veterans Tell Their Stories)
If you were a soldier and forced to spend Christmas away from home some year, what was it like for you?
Remember, especially at this precious time of year, to thank soldiers and veterans for their service.
There is still time to purchase my 3 WWII books at Amazon for delivery by Christmas. They make great gifts for history, military, schools — anyone who appreciates our nation’s military heritage!