Holiday Memories: Korean Christmas
I spent my first Christmas away from home in 1950 in Korea. I had been there since November fighting a war. The United States government called it a police action, but with bullets and artillery shells flying around, it’s a war.
It was cold and freezing on the front line that Christmas Day when the mail truck delivered our mail. I received a large package from home full of homemade cookies, fudge with nuts and divinity and also some wool socks and a muffler that was very much appreciated.
We set up a small tree in the bunker and decorated it with empty shell casings that we picked up from the area. We used the Christmas wrapping paper and ribbon from the presents we got from home. The only things missing from the tree were lights. We couldn’t have lit them anyway because it would have given our position away. Our dinner that day consisted of C-rations and homemade cookies and candy from home. As we sat around that little tree, we started to sing carols very softly and hoped we would get home soon.
It was dark when the enemy attacked. The battle lasted only an hour, some friends got the million dollar wound that would send them home. Some went home in body bags. It was a Christmas I will always remember, and every Christmas since when I get up I say a little prayer in remembrance of my friends who died that day.
Richard D. Hyde is a resident of Carson City.