Larkin Spivey Finding Faith In War

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas Story from Vietnam

Silent Night (2)

Just before sunrise a torrential rain soaked the Marines and half-filled their foxholes with water. During the day temperatures soared above one hundred degrees, subjecting the men to a tropical steam bath and unremitting heat. As the sun set that evening, Navy corpsman Bob Dirr thought to himself that this was a heck of a way to spend Christmas Eve. He was on watch, leaning against the back of a muddy foxhole, trying to keep his feet out of the water. Arrayed around him were his medical bag, M-16, and three hundred rounds of ammo.
As he gazed at the North Star, he thought of another star long ago and of other Christmases from his past. His heart ached with loneliness as he thought of home and loved ones, and contemplated the desolation around him—no presents, no decorations—only doubts, if he would see another Christmas at home.
As he stared idly into the darkness, a green flare streaked across the sky, fired from a distant fire support base. Quickly, another flare went up, and then another. As he watched, the sky above the horizon was crisscrossed with red, blue, yellow, and green flares. Dirr glanced at the luminous dial on his watch. It was one minute after midnight—it was Christmas. Faintly at first, he heard singing in the distance. It grew louder as men along the line picked up the familiar melody. Soon, the hills resounded to the quiet but firm voices of hundreds of men. As tears ran down his face, the young corpsman joined the chorus:

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Sleep in heavenly peace.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. ~Luke 2:8-9

(This story is from soon-to-be published Battlefields & Blessings, Stories of Faith and Courage from the Vietnam War)

1 comment:

  1. So picturesque. I feel like I was there, watching that beautiful scene unfold. Thank you for posting.