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Throwback Thursday: A Soldier’s Prayer on Christmas Day from 1944

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From the Dec. 22, 1944 edition of The Catholic Telegraph-Register (CT File)

Staff Report

The Throwback Thursday research team tries to keep their posts informative and light, but with Christmas approaching, it seemed appropriate to acknowledge the of men and women from this archdiocese and beyond who will celebrate Christ’s birth far from home as they serve in defense of our nation.

The image accompanying this post is from the Dec. 22, 1944 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph-Register and is titled “A Soldier’s Prayer on Christmas Day.” The prayer/poem was written by Corporal Alvin L. Krieg. Krieg may have been a resident of Columbus, Ohio at one time, according to a 1945 edition of the Nassau County Review Star, but it could not be confirmed whether that was the same man. They prayer appeared in several Catholic and small-town newspapers around the country in 1944.

For context, the prayer was published in the The Catholic Telegraph-Register in the final years of World War II and thus references locations where American troops were then stationed. Despite being written from the point of view of a soldier overseas, the prayer is one of gratitude and asks blessings for those at home. It is reprinted below.

We thank thee, Lord, for Thy protection.
I haven’t said that since I was a child, Lord,
But today — on Thy day, I say it once more
And this time, more than any other,
These thanks come from the heart.
Not so much for the Christmas dinner
Served to us here in this orchard in Belgium,
Or on a rain-soaked plan on Leyte Island,
Or in Italy, or on a ship at sea.
But more, Lord, for the richer food
That a blessed memory serves us;
The food of recollection —
Of other, better Christmas days…
Happy days with those we love,
Good cheer, and gifts, and happy greetings
Exchanged by all of us — each with the others
And while we thank thee, Lord,
For those memories,
We reverently and humbly ask
That there may be other Christmas days
For us now so distant from our homes;
Days when we may join with those we love
In a world of peach and good will,
May sit with the families we hold dear
And give thanks, with them, once again.
Again, Lord, we thank Thee for Thy protection.
Bless those at home today,
Help them to realize that we are with them
In spirit more than ever today, and
May their day be a happy one.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2310) states, “Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.”

As Advent continues toward the celebration of Christmas, may we pray for peace in the world and a safe return home for all military personnel.

Welcome to The Catholic Telegraph’s edition of Throwback Thursday. Throwback Thursday is a weekly online activity wherein users of social media share an old photo or anecdote about times gone by. We use Throwback Thursday to highlight the history of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and our publication.

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