December 9.2013 – The Story Behind I”ll Be Home For Christmas

See the official video of Rascal Flatt’s version here1 Rascal Flatts I’ll Be Home For Christmas

I’ll Be Home For Christmas was originally recorded by Bing Crosby in 1943, and it quickly became one of America’s most popular holiday songs. The song is written from the perspective of a soldier serving over seas during World War 2. While the melody is one that lingers in our minds, the meaning of the song is actually quite somber as the closing line reveals that being home for Christmas isn’t quite a reality just yet.

The song particularly struck a nerve with overseas GIs and their families awaiting their return from serving their country in World War 2. The GI magazine said Crosby accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era.

This was written by Walter Kent (music) and James Kimball “Kim” Gannon (words). Though Kent and Gannon collaborated on other songs, none reached the same level of popularity as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Kent had had previous success with the hit song “(There’ll Be Blue Birds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover,” with the lyricist Nat Burton in 1941.

The song touched the hearts of Americans, both soldiers and civilians, who were in the midst of World War II, and it earned Crosby his fifth gold record. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” became the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows.

There have been 2 made-for-TV movies and a 1998 film all titled I’ll Be Home For Christmas, which have all featured this tune on their soundtracks.
I did a little digging and came across a cool addendum, shall we say?
The story goes that around Christmas in 1943 the chaplain on the Battleship North Carolina knew that the crew was feeling homesick as they were expected to still be overseas during the holiday season. He had an idea and collected $5 from every crew member that had children back home.

The chaplain made a list of all that gave him money for their children at home and he sent that money along with the addresses of the sailor’s home to Macy’s department store. The request was made for Macy’s to buy gifts using the money provided for the crew’s family and have the gift mailed to their homes in time for Christmas.

As Christmas approached, the service men on the ship gathered for the annual Christmas show that involved songs, skits and entertainment for the troops aboard the Battleship North Carolina. When the entertainment had ended, the chaplain had a surprise to reveal.

When Macy’s received the money from the chaplain along with the list of the addresses, they thought that in addition to just giving gifts to these military families at home, they should give a one of a kind gift to the soldiers as well. Since they had the addresses for all the sailors homes, they reached out to each family and asked if they wanted to come to the Macy’s store and send a special message to their loved one who would not be able to be home for Christmas.

The mean aboard the Battleship North Carolina sat there and saw their wives, children and loved ones appear before them on the screen as Macy’s had videoed each of their families sending them a Christmas message. These rugged sailors watched, wept and rejoiced. They weren’t home for Christmas, but what made their homes special was the Christmas gift they received on that December 25th in 1943.

LYRICS: Written by Kim Gannon and composer Walter Kent. Buck Ram
I am dreaming tonight of a place I love
Even more than I usually do
And although I know it’s a long road back
I promise you

I’ll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree

Christmas Eve will find you
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

If only in my dreams

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About Robynn

Robynn Jaymes has spent her whole life in radio… 30 years!! And almost half of them have been at Star Country. Originally from Cincinnati, Robynn came to the area as a Liberty University student. Along with all things country music, Robynn is a big fan of Football!—The Virginia Tech Hokies, The Washington Redskins and, of course, the Cincinnati Bengals. And also, “I’m addicted to the Weather Channel,” she says. Right now, Robynn is a big fan if the music coming from Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Kenny Chesney! Robynn is also a winner of the Billboard Air Personality of the Year award. Hear all new Warm & Fuzzies with Robynn M-F at 11:45AM!

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