Skip to comments.The Strange Christmas Eve of 1941
Posted on 12/24/2013 9:49:11 AM PST by Dansong
The Strange Christmas Eve of 1941
Seventeen days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, on Christmas Eve in 1941, a radio broadcast from the White House reached millions of Americans just as our young men readied themselves to fight in foreign lands and our young woman resigned themselves to long hours in dark factories. A generation that spent a decade weathering the Great Depression now, unbelievably, would face an even deadlier challenge in the form of a world war.
The radio broadcast was given to commemorate the lighting of the National Christmas tree but President Roosevelt would share the micrphone that evening with a foreigner. Winston S. Churchill, prime minister of Great Brittan, had come to America to school Washington on the European war and to steel the backbone of the American people as he had so effectively done with the British. His nation had been at war for two years.
This is a strange Christmas Eve the Englishman with the slight lisp said, Almost the whole world is locked in deadly struggle, and with the most terrible weapons which science can devise, the nations advance upon each other. He would be stern about the dangers facing America. But sensing both the mood of the nation and the spirit of the holiday, he would then declare that all Americans should cast aside for this night at least the cares and dangers that beset us, and make for the children an evening of happiness in a world of storm.
For Winston Churchill this evening was particularly lonely. The old man (he was sixty-seven) had left his own considerable family and staff to find himself trapped in a cold and too-quiet White House; a great guest in an empty room; decompressing from the flurry of activity that was his wartime routine.
And then something marvelous happened.
A 9-year old girl named Diana Hopkins, daughter of President Roosevelts aide Harry Hopkins, had also been a guest of the President that night. She was probably a bit lonely, too. So later that night a White House butler knocked on her door, woke her from her slumber and gently explained why he had summoned her. She quickly put on her robe over her pajamas and eagerly ran with the butler to the Monroe Bedroom. The butler then knocked on the door - only to hear a loud grunt!
Miss Hopkins, sir, the butler bellowed, opening the door.
What little Diana saw next stunned her: the greatest man of the 20th century stood standing before her in his pajamas and nightcap - with tears in his eyes. The man who held an empire in his fingertips and could move armies with a blink, needed just one thing this night; the only thing that would curb the aching inside him.
Churchill drew the awestruck child toward him and said, Im a lonely old father and grandfather on Christmas Eve who only wanted a little girl to hug. Churchill then embraced little Diana, graciously thanked her and sent her back to her room.
And now, the man who saved England could rest.
Listen carefully to the words Winston Churchill used to conclude his broadcast remarks on that lonely Christmas Eve so many years ago and see if they might whisper true for our own Christmas Eves, be they safe or strange: Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or right to live in a free and decent world. And so, in Gods mercy, a happy Christmas to you all.
Now, would you please go and find someone to hug?
Daniel F. Harrington
“Now, would you please go and find someone to hug?”
I tried in Walmart this morning but I only got peppersprayed.
Merry Christmas! :)
Merry Christmas and thank-you.
Lovely-—thanks for posting.
Dansong, thank you for posting this.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL
The Gospel According to Peanuts [Charlie Brown Christmas]
Here’s Churchill’s speech:
Thanks for the ping to this excellent story.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!
Merry Christmas ...
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,
25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,;
5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”
16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ “
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
Forget all our challenges and have a very Merry Christmas!
Anyway, that 1941 Christmas Eve message has always been one of my favorite Churchill speeches.
Sadly, in these times, a grown man in his pajamas summoning a 9-year-old girl to his bedroom "for a bedtime hug" would likely be scandalized and thrown in jail - Prime Minister or not. Such is the world that we live in today.
Now that is oratory the way it should be done.
Merry Christmas Dan!
Nice catch...I used a word version of my piece to post it so it differs slightly from the projo final copy. They always tidy it up a bit. Thanks!
No worries. It was a nice article to post for a Christmas Eve!
As another fellow from England would say:
“God bless us . . . Everyone
My Father's 36th Texas National Guard Division had already been federalized in 1940, so he was already serving as a Supply Sergeant in Battery ‘B’ 133rd Field Artillery Battalion. They had participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers during August and September of 1941.
The 36th was stationed at Camp Bowie, Texas, that 1941 Christmas and Dad got leave but had to hitchhike back to Kerens, Texas, for the holidays.
My Dad... a year later in England.
My Mother was just 14 in 1941 and along with her parent, my maternal grandparents, lived in Kerens that Christmas but my Grandpa was already looking to getting on with the shipyards in Beaumont, Texas. He would eventually work there for a couple of years during the war.
Mom used to tell the tale with her wicked, wicked laugh that she was a spoiled little 14-year old brat... at the time and her worst worry was that they would cancel Christmas because of Pearl Harbor.
My parents didn't get together until he came back from the war in late 1945 when, as Mom told it, she caught Bedford and saved him from himself.
My Father always replied that when he asked my Mother to marry him, she was already engaged to three other servicemen: one in the Navy, one in the Marines and one in the Air Corps. And that was the truth as Mom was larger than life and always did everything up big--
Anyway, they got married and in 1949, here they are... with a most handsome, intelligent child that grew up... to be me!
Merry Christmas Y'all and don't drink too much... 'cause that means more booze for me!
Thank you for the ping.
The irony is strong in this story. Little Diana was the daughter of Harry Hopkins, the suspected Soviet spy who was clearly working for Soviet interests at the 1945 Yalta conference and strongly against Churchill. Hopkins enthusiastically supported, embraced, and carried out an accommodationist policy toward the Soviet in World War II and worked to undermine Roosevelt at Yalta.
Funny he doesn’t look a bit like you, no antenna.
Thank you for this post. And, I think it would be a great thing for people to see if this speech of Mr. Churchill’s is available on the internet. I have read it, and I had tears running down my face. So much honor and bravery he gave to a frightened nation. I may be the only person in the world who misses Mr. Churchill, but I do. God bless him and his legacy.
If you knew anything about robot physiology... you would realize that the antenna only comes out after the onset of puberty.
In my case, that was later in 1950 when I saw... Marilyn Monroe in The Asphalt Jungle.
From then on up until today, it is Katie... bar the door!
Oh yes, I’d forgotten about the robot puberty thing.
Back when you were just a young toaster.
Merry Christmas Bender.
Maybe you shouldn't have picked a hot 20 year old.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Thank you for posting.
Thank you! And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours.
I remember the war years as a child, I had all sorts of toy soldiers, guns, bombing games, compressed saw dust tanks, boats and planes, clothes made to look like military uniforms, and that was here in the USA. Boys were raised to be men back then, not the metro sexual man boys of today.
Those exist in Walmart? lol