Don’t Forget – Christmas 1944

Friday after Christmas. Yawn. What shall we discuss? I suppose we could be self-centered and list what we got for Christmas, but I think not. You see, when we’re self-focused we forget to serve others.

Serving others. Honor. Duty. Country. Today, I’m remembering what happened on Christmas Day 70 years ago. From December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945 the Battle of the Bulge was fought in the snowy woods of France. In World War II, this was Germany’s last major offensive attack. At the beginning, German units hurled into unsuspecting Allied lines, beginning a long series of battles. Stormy weather grounded air forces and the fight was mostly between the ground forces.

US troops, Battle of the Bulge (Public Domain)

US troops, Battle of the Bulge
(Public Domain)

Approximately 610,000 American troops fought in the battle; 89,000 casualties. Battle of the Bulge was one of the largest and bloodiest battles fought by the United States in World War II. In the end it was an Allied Victory

So on Christmas Day 1944 American boys were far from their safe homes, fighting to end the horrors of Nazism. They didn’t get materialistic gifts; they gave. They gave of themselves: their safety, their comfort, and their lives. Why? To defend innocent people, to protect future generations.

I usually write thank-you notes on December 26th. Today I’m writing an open thank-you note to our American troops, past, present, and future.

Dear Service Member, Thank you for defending America. Thank you keeping us and our American dreams safe. I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and even if you couldn’t have a big celebration, I hope you will not forget that we are praying for you. Thank you for your service. Sincerely, Miss Sarah

Don’t forget. Don’t get overwhelmed by materialism and forget to serve or thank others for their sacrifices.

“May your days be merry and bright…and may all your Christmases be white.” (Irving Berlin, 1941)

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah


Merry Christmas 2014


Christmas 2014 Gazette665

There are turning points in history. In world history a turning point might be the French Revolution/Napoleonic Era. In American history: the Civil War. Through the centuries there have been defining events; events that have changed the political, social, economic, and ideology realms.

But there is one single event that forever changed the course of history.

It didn’t happen on a battlefield, in a legislative hall, or even in a church.

It happened over 2,000 years ago in a lowly, dirty stable in the crowded town of Bethlehem. A baby was born; the baby was the Savior, Redeemer, Messiah. History changed. God had come to earth.

“…’and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ ” Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonder, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

I hope as you celebrate Christmas you’ll reflect on Christ’s coming and see it as the defining turning point in history. The years of waiting were over; God walked on earth with man and He had come to prepare the way of salvation for all who believe with faith.

Merry Christmas!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah


Gods & Generals Christmas Scene

Here’s Part 2 of your Christmas gift from Gazette665! (Part 1 can be found here.)

For all you folks interested in the American Civil War, I had to share this clip from the movie “Gods and Generals.”  This is probably one of the most memorable scenes of the whole film; a battle weary general and a darling little girl talking about Christmas and their hopes.

Merry Christmas!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

WWI Christmas Scene

Here’s Part 1 of your promised Christmas gift from Gazette665! (Part 2 will follow in a couple days.)

Well, my mom always said don’t watch the commercials on TV (and she’s right), but when a friend sent me this video I knew I had to share. There have been some highly critical comments about this clip being used as a commercial, but I’m asking you to forget that for a moment and see it as a tribute to WWI soldiers and their Christmas 100 years ago. The touching simplicity makes this a historical Christmas clip worth seeing. Enjoy!

It also seemed like a nice way to “finish” our previous posts on WWI this year.

Merry Christmas!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Your thoughts on this thought-provoking film clip?

Emperor on Christmas Day

If you’ve ever taken a Western Civilization class or studied European History, the date “Christmas Day, 800 A.D.” has probably been drilled into you head. Do you remember the significant event?

Welcome to Week #2 in our series on historical happenings on Christmas Day. Last week we played a guessing game to discover a famous American whose birthday was December 25. Now, we journey farther back in time and the history books to the Dark Ages.

On Christmas Day (December 25) 800 A.D. Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor.

Painting of Charlemagne by Artist Durer (1513) Public Domain

Painting of Charlemagne by Artist Durer (1513)
Public Domain

Charlemagne, also known as Charles I of the Franks, ruled the area we now know as France; he became the ruler of the Carolingian kingdom in 768 A.D. He promoted “Christianity” and education through his kingdom. He fought many campaigns, expanding the borders of the Frankish Kingdom.

As the most powerful ruler in Dark Ages Europe, Charlemagne settled a dispute and kept Pope Leo III in power in Rome. In gratitude the pope crowned the Frankish king “Holy Roman Emperor.” It was a political/religious gesture intending to show that Charlemagne continued the legacy of the Ancient Roman Empire.

To be honest, the new empire was not Roman, not holy, and didn’t last very long.

However, the crowning of Charlemagne on Christmas Day 800 A.D. is significant in European History because for the first time since the fall of Rome there was an emperor in Europe and it introduced an important question. Could popes make kings? Did popes have to obey kings or kings obey popes? These questions would become significant debates during the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods.

The title “Holy Roman Emperor” passed to future Carolingian kings and was then fought over by Italian rulers, before disappearing quietly. In 962 A.D. Otto I revived the title and the “Holy Roman Empire” would be a major player in European history until 1806 when conquered by Napoleon I.

Thus in 800 A.D. the foundations of modern Europe began to rise from the Dark Ages when a Frankish king was crowned by an Italian pope.

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. The Holy Roman Empire is a fascinating political identity in European history. It played major roles in the Renaissance, Reformation, Religious Wars, Political Wars, and the opposition to Napoleon. It grew, changed, and adapted as Europe progressed, but if something significant was happening on continental Europe, the Holy Roman Empire was part of it.

Any thoughts? I hope you’re enjoying this series. It should provide interesting holiday conversation.

Merry Birthday

December. Christmas Season. So many choices for the history theme for this month. However, I’ve decided to share the history of some interesting events that actually happened on Christmas Day. December 25 is a very historic day, and I think we sometimes forget the world/nation changing events which happened on that day because we’re busy admiring our gifts or visiting with family.

Today we’re going to play a guessing game. You see, there’s a famous American who was born on Christmas Day, 1821.

Can you guess who it is by the following hints?

  • She grew up in Massachusetts and was known as a shy girl.
  • Her brothers taught her survival skills, including horseback riding which later saved her life.
  • She was known for her compassion and care for other, particularly sick or injured individuals.
  • She taught school and was known to conquer bullies with her kindness and understanding attitude.
  • She worked as a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office and was one of the first women to hold a U.S. government job.
  • During the American Civil War she organized the collection of supplies for Union soldiers.
  • She went to battlefields to bring supplies and help care for the wounded; she was known as “The Angel of the Battlefield”
  • She was appointed “lady in charge” of hospitals belonging to the Union’s Army of the James.
  • After the Civil War she oversaw the “Office of Missing Soldiers”, helping families learn about their soldier’s fate.
  • She was active in the early social movements for civil rights and women’s suffrage.
  • In 1881 she started the American Red Cross and was the organization’s first president
  • She died in 1912.

Did you guess who this famous people was?

The answer: Clara Barton. Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross, an organization which has helped save lives and the reduce the devastation of natural disasters. She was a woman with amazing energy and a desire to serve others in need. And, yes, her birthday was Christmas Day.

Clara Barton, photo taken in 1866 (Public Domain)

Clara Barton, photo taken in 1866
(Public Domain)

Merry Birthday, Clara Barton!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Can you think of any other historic people born on December 25? Share in a comment!

If you have a birthday on this day, my best wishes for a fun celebration.