Books are Enough

The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

I will use Bing Crosby- not Common Core

While some teachers will force kids to read a speech over and over in some tantric “close reading” idea from David Coleman, when I discuss World War II we will listen to the December 21st, 1944 Kraft Music Hall episode. This show was a weekly “must listen” for millions of Americans. 

The 1944 Christmas episode took place as the Battle of the Bulge raged in the Ardennes Forest. Bing Crosby opens the show with his usual Adeste Fideles in Latin- followed by the English version. The radio audience in the studio and around the nation is asked to join in. A special request goes out for all of our men in uniform to join in as well. What a powerful moment to listen to almost 70 years later.

Bing salutes the over 100 WAVES in attendance with a special arrangement of “Jingle Bells.” There is also a performance of the song “Don’t Talk too Much.” This jaunty number (performed by the Charioteers) warns the nation of the danger posed by Nazi spies. The song admonishes, “Boy, don’t be too hip cuz a slip of the lips might sink a ship.”

We get to hear the Florence Tarr poem (set to music), “God is Ever Beside Me.”  As the song was being performed, many Gold Star Mothers were being created in Western Europe. Imagine Americans gathered around radios and fires as their sons and brothers were in the cold heat of battle. We all needed to know that God was ever beside us.

Crosby visited the troops and spoke of it during the show. The show is available on YouTube. I encourage you all to listen to it. There is even a commercial for Kraft Cheese Spreads with the reminder that they only cost 2 ration points each.

What an incredible history lesson that touches on the social, economic, political and religious tapestry that was the American home front during the war.

Common Core? No. I will opt for my training and study of history. I choose Bing Crosby.

I was driving in my car tonight listening to this show on the radio. My thoughts drifted to the cold Ardennes Forest and the ghosts that still walk there at night.


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