That was true in December 1945 for large numbers of LDS servicemen and -women, but not for all. In addition to those who, sadly, would not be coming home for that or any other Christmas, there were others who had not yet been discharged and were on occupation duty in Europe or Asia.
For my father, Christmas 1945 was his third in the army. He spent it in Vienna, where he was a clerk in the headquarters of the Vienna Area Command.
My mom made it home that year, shortly after Thanksgiving, driving in a blizzard between Albuquerque and Salt Lake. She and the others with her bought civvies before they started out, because the MPs were stopping cars with military personnel due to the storm. But she made it home. She’d missed three Christmases in the service.
Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 23, 2012 @ 10:08 pm
My grandfather missed Hanukah that year, I honestly don’t know if he was home in time for Christmas. (My grandmother was Catholic, but even after being members of the LDS church for 30 years, they talk about their first Hanukah together, with my grandmother pregnant, and using the candles and Menorah she bought hoping my grandfather would be home in 1945.)
For Mormons, I guess their wouldn’t have been as much horror from the discovery of the Holocaust. For my grandfather, his father and two aunts, who were the only family members still alive in 1945, it was still horrifying, every time their was a hope that maybe someone else had survived, and then the confirmation that they had not. I know my grandfather had very mixed feelings about coming home without going to try to find relatives in Germany. After he returned home, he never left the US again, except for several short trips to Canada. Even when he had a chance to go later in life, he couldn’t bring himself to return to the continent where all his relatives had been rounded up, from half a dozen countries, and exterminated.
Sorry for the ramble. I assume this was meant as a simple welcome home. For my grandfather, nothing was simple about “coming home,” because he was the only member of his generation that still lived in 1945. Joining the church and doing the genealogy work that he could for those who had died brought some hope, but his frustration at the requirements for submitting names, and the fact that he had the names of about 20 relatives who only appeared in letters, (and so their work has never been done) still bothered him as a temple worker for more than 15 years.
To me, the soft texture of the servicemen- and women in this drawing also evokes a sense of being home in spirit only. Kind of like they are echoing the sentiment in the hymn “The Wintry Day Descending to Its Close” where the ex-pat author longs to be home in the Wasatch Mountains.
In any case, happy holidays to the Keepapitchinin community!
Comment by David Y. — December 24, 2012 @ 10:17 am
I don’t know where my grandfathers were for Christmas 1945, but I assume one grandfather was undoubtedly still with the occupying forces in Europe, since he was relocating war refugees and doing other things of that sort. I do wish we’d asked more questions about his war service — it wasn’t until after he had died that any of us found out that he’d been involved with processing and cataloging the contents of Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest. (Hoping I got that detail right!)