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Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Greetings and Salutations to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:

Tonight (or last night - - - it's after Midnight now), we had our annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the theatre here at the Old Soldiers' Home.

The guest band was a jazz combo from the United States Air Force, and of course, the Soldiers' Home also furnished its own choir, with me performing two (02) solo numbers, "CHRISTMAS EVE IN WASHINGTON" and "ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU" (the Vince Vance version, NOT the Mariah Carey one).

A couple of things stood out.

As the Air Force band played each of the Service's songs, residents would stand proudly while their Branch's song was being played.

Historically, this is the Soldiers' Home, although the name has now been officially changed to Armed Forces Retirement Home.

But, very few guys stood up for the Army's song.

Only a few old Marines stood when their song was played, and two (02) guys stood for the Coast Guard song.

But, when the Navy song was played, a whole bunch of guys stood up, probably the majority of the audience.

Similarly, when the Air Force song was played, quite a few guys came to attention.

So the Soldiers' Home evidently has more sailors than soldiers.

Of course, there's a lot of guys who can't stand up at all, or who didn't come to the tree lighting ceremony.

But, it does make me wonder?

There was an opening prayer by a chaplain, followed by a speech from the director, Captain Ben Laub, United States Navy.

In his speech, Ben Laub was extremely politically correct, to the point of being ridiculous.

He talked about this time of year being special because of Kwanzaa and Hannukah, and how Christmas "ORIGINATED IN EUROPE WITH THE YULE LOG"!!!

Did I hear him correctly?

There was no mention of Jesus Christ at all, not in Captain Laub's speech.

But, the Soldiers' Home's choir did sing traditional Christmas carols, "JOY TO THE WORLD", "HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING", and "THE FIRST NOEL".

Still, last week, during rehearsal, we were told that some residents refused to participate in the choir because they didn't like the songs being "so religious".

Can you believe it?

I was pleasantly surprised at all the unexpected compliments I received after performing my songs.

Usually, after performing, I get away as fast as possible, and seldom hear from anyone until the following day.

Being a lonely guy, I particularly enjoyed the compliment from an attractive blonde, although I have no idea who she was.

Some folks thought I wrote the songs, because I do compose songs, both words and music.

But, I explained that these were someone else's songs, which I learned by listening to the radio.

Thank you.

John Robert "SAIGON" Mallernee, KB3KWS
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

NOTE: "My unpopular and controversial personal opinions are independent of my Scottish clan."

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