National Public Radio (NPR) did a story last Friday – link to it here – on the incredible staying power of long-ago memories about our favorite charities.

Today on the NPR website there’s a new discussion about the outpouring of listener comments they received on the Planet Money page. Many of the comments tell a story those of us at The Salvation Army hear regularly, year after year.

During WWII, The Salvation Army had a significant presence, offering free donuts, candy, socks, and frankly, whatever they could make available to the service personnel on the fighting front.

In fact, I wrote about the frequent stories I’ve heard on this theme in an early post to this blog. Here’s a link to it.

Mary Humelsine, a commenter on NPR’s piece tells a similar story. She shared it on behalf of her father who was part of an engineering company in the Solomon Islands during WWII. He and his unit were trying to reach an airstrip that was used to refuel Japanese planes when they were treated to the unexpected arrival of The Salvation Army.

She recorded her father – now 93 – telling the story. Here’s an excerpt from that story, shared on NPR’s Planet Money page:

“There was a hill there, and we were going around it, and a [bull]dozer just stuck his nose around the corner of the hill, when he started getting artillery fire. So we pulled back to get the cover of the hill. All of a sudden, this jeep drives up to us, and it’s a Salvation Army guy. And, he’s got socks and Nestle candy bars. That’s the first socks we’ve had — any change of clothes we’ve had — in three weeks. (Laughs) The socks [we had been wearing] didn’t have much foot in ’em. I’ve always given to the Salvation Army at Christmastime.”

We’re grateful for all the folks who continue to tell stories just like that one. But we’re even more grateful for the service personnel who risked life and limb to protect and defend our liberties.

On behalf of all The Salvation Army folks who brightened your day a little bit during a challenging time in your life, it was our privilege to serve you.

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