Christmas - 1945
Around this time, many of us have been traveling home for the holidays to see the ones we love. And although it can be a dreadful time time to travel, with backed up traffic or airport congestion, it’s important to remember that not everyone has the opportunity make it home for the holidays.
If you were to sit down with a World War II Veteran and ask any of them what was their favorite Christmas memory, chances are they would say the Christmas of 1945. With only several days before the holidays and the war slowly coming to an end, the Army and Navy initiated “Operation Magic Carpet” and “Operation Santa Clause” to get tens of thousands of GI’s in Europe and Asia home, as well as process those thousands of GI’s for discharge in time for Christmas.
Nearly 250,000 American military personnel; some with brand new discharge papers and some just a day or two away from separation, found themselves back on American soil, but not quite home. Instead, they faced the worst air, rail, and automobile traffic jams in the history of the nation. According to the New York Times; The rule of thumb in the days preceding Christmas was that a westbound train would be about 6 hours late and an eastbound train about 12 hours.
The spirit of giving was in full effect during the holiday season of 1945, All in all, despite the unpleasant traveling experience returning servicemen & women were able to make back home to their families and friends, with