Monday, December 26, 2011

The Best Christmas Present Ever

Gene Cook, a World War II veteran and member of VFW Post 2667 and American Legion Post 56, wrote a letter recalling Christmas Eve, 1944 near Bastogne, Belgium.
“It was Christmas Eve and we sat huddled in a small woods just outside of Bastogne. After a week of hard fighting we were out of food, water and ammunition; everything except hope and determination. We had endured snow to our knees, freezing -40-degree cold, a lack of any warm clothing and countless casualties. We were surrounded by the enemy for eight days who outnumbered us eight-fold.
A peek of sunshine appeared and the cloudy sky began to clear when suddenly we heard, not reindeer, but the throbbing sound of airplanes. Expecting the worst, we began to see hundreds of parachutes. Frowns and worry on our faces rapidly changed to smiles and laughter as our ‘presents’ dropped to earth.
Out of the woods, onto the drop zone we ran, amidst the red, white, blue and green chutes, loading the ‘presents’ onto vehicles to distribute them where the need was greatest. The red ammunition bundles were given top priority. Everything we needed, except clothing and water, including several doctors, who like angels arrived in a glider.
Then one squad member came by holding a tin of fruit cake. ‘Merry Christmas from Troop Carrier Command’ the card read. (It was) the spirit of our brothers who understood our plight.
Christ, as His birthday present to us, had indeed visited Bastogne, far overshadowing the arrival of Patton who He sent two days later. We had persevered with the victory of freedom yet to come.
All glory to God.”