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Old Cowbelle: Battle of the Bulge

--Ina Murray

 One of my calendars reminded me that Dec. 17 commemorates the “Battle of the Bulge.”

Hitler had big plans to annihilate the British and United States divisions north of the Ardennes. The Germans had 30 divisions in the attack and thousands of lives were lost. Americans had 75,000 casualties and the Germans had 80,000 to 100,000 casualties. Such a price to pay for victory.

Husband was there in Belgium at the time. He had just turned 18 in November and served as a First Scout in that battle. I use capital letters because I think being a First Scout was a big deal. Picture that 18-year-old little squirt, walking ahead with the intent of drawing enemy fire to indicate the position of the Nazis for the armored vehicles coming behind him.

I wonder what was going on in his head as he trudged through the snowy trail, wearing only leather shoes and one pair of socks; well, Army clothing too! (No thermal boots back then.)

I suppose at that young age, when everyone was patriotic, maybe he dreamed of being a hero for his country. He was.

He did draw fire, and was injured, and spent some time there in the frigid winter, long enough for his feet to freeze, before he was rescued and taken to a hospital in England before being sent home, where he also spent time in Walter Reed Hospital. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

Oddly, though, he never knew he earned the Bronze Star until years later, when he was notified that he was eligible for veterans’ medical treatment and it was revealed on his records. He never actually saw it since it was delivered to me some months after his death. (We do live in an imperfect world, don’t we?)

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I love the “Countdown To Christmas” stories on channel 338. I suppose you could say they are silly and sentimental, but they all have a happy ending, which is refreshing.

Most of them also have a spiritual slant that leaves me with a good feeling. The Hallmark channel, 312, has uplifting programs, too. This is how I spend my evenings. Of course, sometimes I fall asleep and never see the ending. So when it runs again, I catch up and see how it turns out.

These “homey” stories are a relief from the sometimes depressing newscasts.

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We are told we mustn’t say “Christmas”

so we won’t offend other folk.

“Holiday” sounds much better, they say.

I think it’s a miserable joke.

We live in a land where freedom’s our right

to worship, or not, as we choose.

But please, let’s not abandon our Savior and Lord

to pacify those who refuse!

We all have a right to believe as we wish;

we Christians, you Muslims, you Jews.

We still need to stand and defend our own faith,

but tolerate those other views!

“Christmas” will always be Christmas;

the birth of our Savior and King.

So it really won’t matter what words you may use….

Saying “Holiday” won’t change a thing!