Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve 1943

Christmas Eve 1943
The Allied troops and the 32nd Division of Wisconsin had just pushed Rommel’s Panzer Division out of Africa and were making their way up the Boot of Italy. It was a hard and slogging campaign through the Mountains and snows of December.  The troops moved village to village being barraged by German artillery from the heights.

My Father, Cpt.  Kenneth Frank’s field artillery company, in convoy, pushed through the mud and snow to the edge of a small village nestled in a forested mountain pass. Reconnaissance indicated that the Germans had retreated after intense Allied shelling. No lights shined as they moved into the town center through bombed out buildings. My Father’s command jeep with the radio operator and driver pulled up to the little stone church in the square. There were no town’s people and no lights. Shining headlights on the church door, they entered boarded doors pushing through the litter to light candles on the altar. The radio man found the foot-operated pipe organ and began to play Christmas carols. It was about 10:00PM as the sweet sounds of Noel reached the townspeople who had sought refuge in the nearby woods. They began to make their way to the little chapel where they had not had a worship service for two years. Here they began to join the American liberators in song and praise, lighting candles as the small crowd grew. They sang and gave thanks to the One who was the true light and Liberator of Christmas Eve whose birth they celebrated together.  The Germans could have attacked as the parishioners gathered but did not, apparently choosing to honor Christmas silently with the church people.

May the same hope, peace, joy and love of Christmas enter your ears and heart this year too.   
Merry Christmas and Peace to all mankind, Randy Frank

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