Glendale "Bugler" - Christmas Eve 1943

"Christmas Eve 1943 found our antiaircraft unit on Bougainville Island in the Solomons. For many of us 18 and 19 year olds, it would be our first Christmas away from home and loved ones. The prospect of having a merry Christmas on an embattled jungle island over 9,000 miles from home seemed very dim.

The Japanese, from their base on Rabaul, began their bombing runs early Christmas Eve and continued them throughout the night. At 4 A.M. Christmas morning they finally left, and we all dropped exhausted into our bunks. At 5 A.M. we were rudely awakened by a violent earthquake that was heaving and shaking Bougainville's crust. Fleeing our tents, we found the ground so unstable that we were hardly able to stand. Nearby jungle trees were swaying as if some giant wind were blowing into them. A two-and-a-half-ton truck had rolled across the area and came to a halt in the middle of the mess tent. Every piece of our equipment was knocked off level.

While re-levelling our guns and radar, a Jeep carrying a Salvation Army officer pulled into our area. He approached and handed each of us a small Christmas gift package containing candy, gum, cigarettes, and toilet articles. With a hearty 'Merry Christmas and God bless you' he departed. The surviving members of our unit will never forget those 24 hours of Christmas 1943 during which they experienced enemy attack, Mother Nature's power, and Christian charity!"

Those memories of Christmas 1943 were written by Leonard Owczarzak and are included in "Theaters of War: We Remember." This 360-page softcover book is a written narrative of World War II events that changed the course of our history, transformed communities and nations, and altered lives forever. Edited by Glendale's owner and president, Wendy Lazar, "Theaters of War: We Remember" is now available at $19.95 each. Former Senator Bob Dole wrote the introduction to the book. Proceeds from "Theaters of War: We Remember" will be donated to The National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC.

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