Appalachia Christmas

Christmas in July – The Korean War

Christmas Decorations

“Christmas in July reminds me of a July around 1953 when I was in high school. The Korean war was going on and some captured American soldiers had sent letters from their POW camp to a local radio station. The letters requested certain Christmas songs be played and dedicated to their families and friends. The letters had been mailed well before Christmas that year, however, had not been delivered until the following July. The DJ at the station dedicated a hot Summer evening and played nothing but Christmas songs that day in honor of the POWs request.”

—C. Ron Perry, Sr. – July 2015

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I was reminded of this comment by two things that happened last week. I’ll tell you about one of them in a few days.

In honor of the POWs and the DJ who played Christmas songs for their families in July I’m giving away one of Pap and Paul’s “Songs of Christmas” cds. Leave a comment on this post to be entered in the drawing. Giveaway ends Saturday July 27. Go here to pick up your own copy of the cd.

Tipper

p.s. You can catch The Pressley Girls over the next few weeks at the following places:

July 27, 2019 @ 8:00 p.m. Vogel State Park Blairsville – GA

August 3, 2019 @ 8:00 p.m. Mountain Dance and Folk Festival – Asheville NC

August 17, 2019 @ 2:10 p.m. Swain County Agriculture Fair – Bryson City NC

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 23, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    My wife’s father who had served in Europe in WWII and was recalled and deployed to Korea. He was captured and held as a POW for thirty three months. His family didn’t know if he was KIA or a POW for quite a while. He came home a shadow of the man who left and died in his late thirties from side effects to problems he developed from his time in captivity.

  • Reply
    Jackie
    July 23, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    I had some older cousins that went to Korea. I was too young. It is a shame that communicating took so long simply because they were prisoners.

  • Reply
    tmc
    July 23, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    God help us not to forget and remind us to count our blessings, to many have fallen for us to just ignore.

  • Reply
    Linda
    July 23, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    When traveling in our small RV, we almost always boondock (park overnight in a safe place that doesn’t provide hookups/utilities). One year, in December, we stopped for the night at a Walmart in Texas. The parking lot speakers played Christmas music all night long. It was wonderfully annoying!

  • Reply
    Shirl
    July 23, 2019 at 9:17 am

    I would play Christmas music year round if family members didn’t question my sanity.
    A POW should be granted any reasonable request for any thing at any time. Just last night my brother in law and I were shopping for a large purchase and asked the salesperson about military discounts. He said they only offer discounts to active military. While I appreciate their service, that is so unfair to our veterans and POWs.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    July 23, 2019 at 9:08 am

    I had an Uncle that was a machine gunner and when he came back from Korea he was a wild man. He would get drunk in Grayson KY. and the law would chase him out old route 7 into Elliot county. One of the most crooked roads you can imagine. The road is now mostly covered by water. My Uncle drove a 1951 or 1952 ford that had a flat head 8 cylinder 100 hp. engine if my memory serves me right and he was never caught. As a boy I was all ears and would hear these stories. He really had a horrible time in Korea. Later the Lord saved him and he became a Baptist Preacher. Recently a friend of mine died that was a Korean Veteran. He rarely told me anything about the war. One day he was telling me about killing quail on the wing with a pistol. I know this sounds like a bear tale but there are people that have that kind of coordination. I told him he should have been a sniper and he said he had been. He said he was in special forces and was trained by the Turks. Him and his wife were good Christian people. He died about 4 months ago and his wife died about 2 months later.

    • Reply
      Jeannie Emberton
      July 24, 2019 at 9:07 pm

      I remember my cousin leaving for the Korean War.I was only 6 at the time but it seems like only yesterday.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 23, 2019 at 8:58 am

    I already have the CD so include me out of the drawing.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 23, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Tipper,
    My oldest brother, Bud, (Gentry) was in the Korean War. At 17 or 18, he got caught stealing Gas out of a School Bus at Robbinsville. So, he joined the Army to avoid the penalty. Once he got there, he was sent to the front lines to do battle with the North Koreans. When the War ended, I was young, and didn’t remember him. But I can remember him Huggin’ Mom and Dad on the Porch late one night. (I hid under the Kitchen Table to avoid contact with this Stranger.) Momma and Daddy had spent many a night on their knees, Praying that their Son would be safe. Their prayers were answered. …Ken

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    July 23, 2019 at 8:36 am

    Times of war seemed to draw families close together. So was the time of the Korean War. I had two uncles who were serving, and I remember they were never far from the hearts and prayers of the family. My mother’s family even has an old photo circulating where the large family gathered holding 8″ by 10″ pictures of the boys, not wanting to leave them out. My young aunts gathered on the porch and harmonized the long ago words of a song I can barely recall. Some of the words were, “They’re fighting in Korea, the men are called to go. We read in the newspaper, hear on the radio, they’re fighting in Korea, the men are called to go.” I recall hushed whispers of Uncle Charlie’s job was extremely dangerous, and how he got Malaria and an enlarged heart. We are fortunate enough to still have that tough ole soldier still with us.
    I would like to think my grandparents were somehow able to be comforted by the Christmas in July radio show on their old battery radio. I can remember listening to the eerie ” The Shadow Knows'” and old westerns with my Grandpa. Through letters, word of mouth, and that old radio, they kept up to date on a war fought bravely by their young sons. Uncle Charlie paced our living room the evening before he left. My dad was the one who took him to the station.
    Whether it be that jobs were hard to come by or we had an extremely patriotic family, it seems most young men joined the service young for many generations back. My entire state has a long history of patriotism, as does much of Appalachia. If you want to get them riled just show disrespect for America! Just one of the many reasons I am proud to be an Appalachian.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 23, 2019 at 8:15 am

    We humans have a dilemma. We best appreciate what we have both had and have had to do without. In that way the ones who have suffered the most, such as POWs, are best able to be truly grateful. And that kind of gratitude often becomes about ‘small’ things; clean clothes, an ice cream cone, a Christmas song.

    I know. People have told me I think too much. Perhaps I do. But something I think about is whether we will remember this life in heaven. If we don’t, how can we appreciate the difference? But if we do, how can there be no sorrow? Maybe it will be that we will be truly grateful without needing the contrast. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful change?

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      July 23, 2019 at 8:56 am

      Only the good among us will make it to heaven.
      Only the good in us will make it to heaven.
      Heaven can have no evil! Else it cannot be heaven!
      “The things down here that cause our hearts to tremble recalled up there will only bring a smile” – Stuart Hamblen

    • Reply
      aw griff
      July 23, 2019 at 11:17 am

      Ron, I’ve wondered about the same thing and never came up with a concrete answer. It would be horrible to get to Heaven and find out some of your loved ones weren’t there. We know there can’t be that kind of sorrow in Heaven. I heard a man say one time he dreamed about going to Heaven or maybe he was telling someone’s else experience. Not sure now, but anyways the man dreamed of going to Heaven and he saw people he thought would not be there. There was also people missing he thought would be there but the thing he was most grateful for was he was there. We know we will have a body liken unto His, so I assume we will remember our life here and will see everything from God’s perspective. I’m sure you know this but God will never be sorry for punishing sin and the rejection of His Son.

  • Reply
    Linda Rice
    July 23, 2019 at 6:25 am

    Tipper, I so enjoy your posts. My husband and I always go to your website if we are trying to learn a new song. We always are blessed by the way your family sings. I enjoy all, but must confess that Pap and Paul are my favorites. Their harmony is the best. May God continue to bless your family.

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