In trying to decided on what to post here this holiday season, all of the traditional standbys seemed too... cliche for my taste. And so, on this Christmas Eve, I have decided to go with a World War II era ad from the New York, New Haven, & Hartford Railroad entitled "The Kid in Upper 4." Regardless of our feelings toward the outgoing president, let us not forget the young men and women who are far from home at this time of year...
"The Kid in Upper 4"
"It is 3:42 a.m. on a troop train. Men wrapped in blankets are breathing heavily. Two in every lower berth. One in every upper. This is no ordinary trip. It may be their last in the U.S.A. till the end of the war. Tomorrow they will be on the high seas. One is wide awake ... listening ... staring into the blackness.
It is the kid in Upper 4.
Tonight, he knows, he is leaving behind a lot of little things - and big ones. The taste of hamburgers and pop ... the feel of driving a roadster over a six-lane highway ... a dog named Shucks, or Spot, or Barnacle Bill. The pretty girl who writes so often ... that gray-haired man, so proud and awkward at the station ... the mother who knit the socks he'll wear soon. Tonight he's thinking them over. There's a lump in his throat. And maybe - a tear fills his eye. It doesn't matter, Kid. Nobody will see ... it's too dark.
A couple of thousand miles away, where he's going, they don't know him very well. But people all over the world are waiting, praying for him to come. And he will come, this kid in Upper 4. With new hope, peace and freedom for a tired, bleeding world.
Next time you are on the train, remember the kid in Upper 4.
If you have to stand enroute - it is so he may have a seat.
If there is no berth for you - it is so that he may sleep.
If you have to wait for a seat in the diner - it is so he ... and thousands like him ... may have a meal they won't forget in the days to come.
For to treat him as our most honored guest is the least we can do to pay a mighty debt of gratitude.