For men and women in the Armed Forces, working and living away from their families and loved ones for long periods of time must always be difficult, but even more so during the holidays. I have thought about this more recently after reading testimonies from Korean War veterans. Below is one I ran across on the American Legion’s website. As you read it, also put yourself in the shoes of Martin’s family. I can imagine their joy at hearing his voice on the radio. What an amazing Christmas gift at a tumultuous time in our country's history!
We all have our special Christmas song that we enjoy during the holidays. Mine is "I'll Be
Home for Christmas." Being away from home at Christmas is difficult for anyone, but for a
service member overseas in a war zone, it can be traumatic.
Christmas was only a few days away, and I was in a far-off, hostile land called Korea. I
was cold, frightened, and lonely. I longed to be home with my loving family to share the
warmth and security of their love.
While shivering in my foxhole, I dreamt of being at midnight Mass and opening the
presents under the tree with my family. I could taste the delicious turkey dinner with all
the trimmings that my dear mother cooked for me. While standing under the mistletoe,
singing carols with family and friends and drinking hot chocolate, I could feel the tender
kiss of my sweetheart on my cheek and the loving embrace of my kid brother.
All was wonderful when suddently I was shocked back to reality.
"Hey, solder, we're from Armed Forces Radio. Would you like to send a message home?"
One guy shoved a mircrophone in my face while the other operated the recorder. "Say
anything you like," he said. With a cracking voice and tears in my eyes, I spoke to my
mother and family. AFR notied my family that I would be talking to them on the radio on
Christmas. All my family, friends, and neighbors crowded aroud the radio to listen to me. It
was the best present they had that Chrismtas. By the way, the last verse of "I'll be Home
for Christmas" is "if only in my dreams." And it was. Thanks, Armed Forces Radio - Martin
Frances Farricker, Sr., Woodbridge, NJ
To read more holiday remembrances from Korean War soldiers, visit the American
Legion’s website and read Our Korean War Story: Combat Christmas at https://www.legion.org/honor/257737/our-korean-war-story-combat-christmas. It will make you thankful for the loved ones you have near this holiday season and help you to remember
those still serving our country away from their homes. Pray for them and their families this Christmas!
“Dear family,” Sheffield cleared his throat and began. “I am here safe in South Korea.
Can you believe it? Just a few weeks ago I was telling you all goodbye in Georgia. Who
would have ever thought that an Alabama boy like me would have ever made it to Europe
and now Korea?”
The Final Song, Chapter 40