I was thinking this morning on my way in to work about Christmas, in particular, Christmas away from home. I remember my Christmas in Vietnam – just another day merged into the many, highlighted by Christmas dinner in the mess hall.
In the week preceding Christmas, I had to leave Phu Bai for a meeting in Saigon at the 509th Radio Research Group headquarters and was trying to get back to Phu Bai on Christmas Eve – my goal was to get there in time to see the Bob Hope Christmas show at Camp Eagle, base camp area of the 101st Airborne Division. It was a big deal that he was going to be that far north, and it wasn’t every day you were able to see the show in person.
For whatever reason, and I’m sure it wasn’t due to a snow storm since global warming hadn’t been invented yet, by the time I reached Danang, there were no flights leaving the Air Base and I would have to spend Christmas Eve night in the posh Danang Air Base passenger terminal. As bad as that may sound, while dozing off in one of the plush waiting lounge chairs (and I use the latter terms very loosely) I was pleasantly surprised to be woken up by several members of the Bob Hope show entourage! I can’t remember to this day who I met, but they were all very nice, and did a great job of lifting my otherwise despondent spirits that night. Thanks!
No, I did not meet Bob Hope, I didn’t get invited to travel with them, and I did not get to Phu Bai in time to see the show. I did however, arrive at Tri Bac Station in time to have a great Christmas dinner, and be on time for the evening shift.
Christmas in a combat zone? Often just another day to a Soldier, but a day we need to make a special effort to lift our deployed Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors up in prayer as it’s a day packed full of memories for those young men and women so far away from their loved ones.