Thursday, December 16, 2010
I Heard the Bells
One of my favorite poets, as a girl, was Longfellow. I also enjoyed the Christmas hymn, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." As a little girl who had lived through World War II, the words had a special meaning to me.
Then, there was Korea. The one Uncle on the Pitts side, Robert, who did not go to World War II, went to Korea. (My dad, of course, served in World War II as a SeaBee (Construction Battalion), an arm of the U.S. Navy, in the islands of the Pacific.
My two older Childs cousins had experiences serving in the U.S. Army in the Viet Nam conflict (Garth in Germany as support and David in 'Nam).
Before that, Grandfather Smith, served in the infantry.
Other members of our family fought in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. I thought that
Longfellow's words: "For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men," had special significance for me.
Following "The War," there was what was known as the "Cold War." I grew up during those years when all of us feared an atomic bomb.
As a teen, I discovered that the words to the hymn, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," were written by Longfellow. When we visited Cambridge, MA, we went to his home and learned even more of him.
I developed a respect for his life. This book I am giving each of my families for Christmas (part of my Christmas tradition is giving a book in addition to the other gifts given.) tells the background story of my well-loved song, "I Heard the Bells of Christmas Day."
I hope you all enjoy the story and realize that, as a country, we have experienced many dark days but the spirit we have created is, in part, made of the patriotism of those who lived before we were born.