The first farmer was the first man. All historic nobility rests on the possession and use of land. Ralph Waldo Emerson

06 December 2010

The History Behind "I'll Be Home For Christmas"

Often, the meaning of songs and the circumstances under which they are written make the songs eminently more interesting. That's the case with one of America's all-time favorites--"I'll Be Home For Christmas". The song was written in 1943, at the height of World War II. Hundreds of thousands of young GI's were stationed in Europe and the Pacific, far away from their loved ones and the comfort and safety of home.

The mood of the country was perfectly captured in a new Christmas song penned by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent. In it, the song begins cheerfully and hopefully, affirming that the subject of the song will be home for Christmas "where the love-light gleams". But the song ends with the haunting closer: "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams".

When the song was recorded by Bing Crosby and released in the fall of 1943, it shot to the top ten in the record charts and became an instant classic.

For millions of Americans during the War--and today for those serving our country in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout the world where our troops are stationed--the closest the troops would get to home at Christmastime is in the dreams they share with their loved ones who would readily welcome them.

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