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Christmas, Ortona, 1943


  This came to me today. It seems that it was published in a Canadian Army Newspaper back in 1943.

While we are preparing for the holidays, let us keep in mind that part of our national family is on the front lines. Some of them died today. Some of them were injured, some seriously. While forces were in Italy in '43, the war was a collective  effort of the whole nation. That is not so today. You are not rationing sugar, nor gas. You are not "painting" stockings on your legs. You are probably not changing your vacation plans.

Some of you are praying desperately for loved ones.

If you can do nothing else for those in active service, you can wrap them in prayer, and when they do come home, remember to say, Thanks for Your Service, and Welcome Home.

  From Ortona, 1943


'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
The wind softly carolled a song,
There wasn't a roof left
To cover a mouse
And the walls they were practically gone.

Just the spirit of Christmas
And I were astir,
Cold sober and doing the watch,
When in through a shell hole
All wrapped in his furs,
Old Saint Nick came with a rush.

His little pot belly
It quivered and shook.
His forehead was beaded with sweat.        
Said he,"Of all travels and trips I ever took,
This one's been the toughest yet.
No roof for my reindeer,
No snow for my sleigh,
The ground is pitted and tore.
There's bullets and shells
Whizzing every which way,
Never saw such a country before"

Poor Dunder is shell-shocked,
And his eyes filled with tears,
Poor Blitzen is feeling it too.
The Germans got Prancer,
And, tomorrow I fear,
He'll be made into venison stew.

Oh my troubles are many,
My presents are few,
My head's getting shiny and bald.
And if it wasn't for lads
Like the British and you,
I wouldn't have come here at all."

Well, I'd better be going.
I want to get home,
And I've yet to deliver a gift.
It's a parcel for Hitler,
I think it's a bomb,
And I hope it'll give him a lift.
Then Old Father Christmas
Climbed into his sleigh,
And waved me goodbye as he called,
On Dunder! On Blitzen!
Let's up and away,
Or these shells will be getting us all!

And I thought to myself,
Well, Old Timer, you're right.
I don't blame you for wanting to leave.
It's not safe for the Angel of Peace
To alight In Ortona on this Christmas Eve."

    Gnr. M.J. Mitchell
  May the very best of blessings be yours on this coming Christmas Day.



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