Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 3, 2012

Museum to share Christmas at-war stories

Tales offer glimpse into hardships, emotions of warriors

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — As curator of military collections for Highlands Museum and Discovery Center, Matt Potter has found many compelling stories as he has collected the histories of the area’s military veterans.

Potter will share a personal collection of those stories during a special presentation titled “Five stories of Christmas at War,” using a few of the museum’s historic photos as illustration. Potter said he selected each story because they offer a glimpse into the emotions and hardships faced by warriors who can’t be at home during the holidays.

 “It’s really the fact they convey an aspect of the military that people do not think about,” he said. “You think about honoring the service member during the holidays, but you don’t think about what the holidays were actually like for them.”

Potter said the collection of holiday stories will include memories of surviving local veterans, as well as those who have passed on.

“It will really be a little bit of everything ... stories going all the way back to World War I with the Christmas truce,” Potter said, adding he plans to share another memory “straight out of the battle of the bulge.”

“One is about Christmas in Korea,” he said, explaining military members serving in that conflict were often extremely isolated. It was “totally different than anything they expected because they were just so cut off.”

The presentation will conclude with a Christmas story from the Vietnam War.

“That became a touchy issue with people because so many were against the war, but they still had a desire to support the troops during the holidays,” he said.

Reservations for the presentation  at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13 are encouraged, although not required, and refreshments will be served. For more information, call (606) 329-8888.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com.