Every November I like to buy a cd of Christmas music. Last year I bought Michael Buble‘s cd. The soundtrack to the movie, Elf, was another past purchase. One of my favorite buys, however, is a cd of Christmas standards sung by Bing Crosby and Perry Como. I love to pop it in the cd player while I am in the kitchen, mixing up a batch of Christmas cookies or washing the dishes. The song, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, as sung by Mr. Como, this year especially, never failed to bring a tear to my eye. Our oldest son is in the Marines Corps, and this was his first Christmas away from us. That is why this song resonated with me in such a strong way. In a way that hasn’t ever touched my emotions before.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas was first recorded by Bing Crosby in 1943. The song resonated deeply with American GIs, many who were stationed overseas fighting in World War II. The song also resonated with their loved ones back home too. The lyrics tell of a soldier, writing a letter to his family, stating how he’ll be home for the Christmas season, to please have snow, mistletoe, presents under the tree, but by the song’s end, it is obvious that the soldier will be unable to be home for Christmas, so he will have to content himself with fond memories of past Christmases in his dreams.
Last Christmas, our son in the Corps was able to be home for Christmas. It seemed like a minor miracle how he got to come home. He serves in Japan at a Marine Air Station, and in July of 2011, he put in a request for leave for the enitre month of December. Fortunately his request went through and in early December he flew to St. Louis. His first stop was taking a train to Hiroshima’s airport, then he flew to Tokyo, then to Los Angeles, then Chicago, and finally to St. Louis. I discovered a fun online site called Flight Tracker, and was able to know when his plane was over the Pacific, over the North American continent, over the US, etc. Christmas 2011 was wonderful for our son as he visited with us in Rolla, his good friends in the St. Louis area, and then on to Ohio to visit all of the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was due to fly back to Japan at the end of December, but his pesky appendix had another plan, and due to emergency surgery, he was able to stay with us for another week.
His father and I, as well as his younger brothers and sisters all feel very relieved that his duty station has been in Japan for most of his 4 years in the Marines. We are quite aware that many serving in the military don’t get stationed in a country that is relatively up to date with technology, relatively out of harm’s way as far as world situations and hot spots go. Christmas 2013, he’ll be at his new station, it will be stateside, and hopefully we’ll be able to spend some of the holiday with him.
As this Christmas season of 2012 is winding down, please remember those who are willingly serving our country with their time, their energy, their all. Whether they are in a dangerous zone in the world or not, they deserve our thanks and our prayers, and not just at Christmas, but all year long.