2003 Papa Bear Awards - Nominated
Best Portrayal of a Canon Character - Klink
November 1943. The World is still at war. Nowhere on Earth is untouched by the tragedy, that is, this War. Days come and days go. Time passes slowly. Battles are won and lost. The loss of life continues unabated. But as the Holiday Season approaches, some soldiers try to take solace in thoughts of home and family. But no real solace can be achieved, for those so very far from home.
Hammelburg, Germany, Stalag 13, November 17, 1943, 1630 Hours
Colonel Robert Hogan, the Senior Prisoner of War Officer at Stalag 13 headed across the prison compound to see Kommandant Wilhelm Klink. He turned the collar of his leather jacket up as a chilly wind whistled past him. Winter was coming. Again. Oh wonderful! There was nothing colder than a German Winter. Well, perhaps the winters in Stalingrad are a bit chillier. Everyone has been working overtime trying to expand our underground sabotage and espionage operation. As well as trying to keep up with the movement of Allied servicemen back to London. These past few months have been incredibly hectic. My civilian network has also grown enormously. I finally am beginning to believe that we can make a difference in this war. But there comes a time when I have to give the guys a break. Right now, the tunnels are free of Allied servicemen and tomorrow is Thanksgiving, an American holiday, but a holiday nonetheless. I hope that I can get Klink to agree to this little respite, as we all need a break.
"Kommandant," Hogan began as he entered Klinkís office around 4:30 in the afternoon. "I would like to make a request."
"What is it this time, Hogan?" Klink replied with a sigh. The day was almost over, and up till this moment he had not had to deal with Hogan once today. It had been a pleasant day for once.
"Well itís like this, sir." Hogan said, sitting in the chair in front of Klinkís desk. "Iíd like to request that you make tomorrow a day of rest for the entire camp."
"Why? So you and your men can concentrate on digging tunnels?" Klink asked sarcastically.
"No sir. Weíve got that all done. Weíre working on a wine cellar now." Hogan replied with a grin.
"Hogan!" Klink thumped his desk in warning.
"Sorry sir." Hogan replied contritely. "I get carried away sometimes."
"What do you want Hogan?" Klink asked, frustrated.
"Oh, just this sir. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving." Hogan said. "I was just hoping that you would allow us to celebrate it in a small way."
"Thanksgiving is an American Holiday." Klink protested. "Not all of your men are Americans."
"Thatís true, sir. But, the men could all use a break and if we can coincide it with a holiday, any holiday, so much the better. The men would appreciate it, sir." Hogan replied.
"I have never understood your Thanksgiving Holiday." Klink said shaking his head. "It seems silly to proclaim a holiday just to eat too much."
"Sir! Thanksgiving isnít about eating too much. Itís about families. Itís a day to give thanks for the blessings of the past year. Didnít you know, that the men in this camp are thankful that you, the Iron Eagle well-known for his compassion, are their Camp Kommandant? Weíre all very proud of that fact, sir." Hogan explained.
"Me? Theyíre thankful for me?" Klink asked shocked.
"Yes sir. More than you will ever know." Hogan agreed solemnly.
"Alright, Colonel Hogan. You have your day of rest. And to show that I am not totally heartless, everyman will receive an extra slice of white bread tomorrow." Klink agreed with a smile.
"Thank you sir. That will make this Thanksgiving one to be remembered." Hogan said, standing and saluting.
Stalag 13, Colonel Hoganís Quarters, November 18, 1943, 1030 Hours
November 18, 1943
Dear Mom and Dad,
Today is Thanksgiving. My second in this place. I have convinced the Camp Kommandant to give my men the day off, so there are no work details today. Many of the men are spending the day as I am, writing home. This afternoon, there will be a football game, the camp football championship game. Winterís here are a little rough, so our Super Bowl is in November. Other than that itís just like Thanksgiving at home. Turkey and Football. Nothing could be finer.
I hope that everyone there is well, Sue, Ed, the Baby and of course, both of you. I know Mom, that you will be cooking way too much food and are expecting the whole Hogan clan to descend upon the house today at four. Please tell everyone that Iím fine. I do wish that I could be there with you, on this day especially. But circumstances have continued to conspire against us in that regard. Letís just hope this war will end soon.
Iíve heard from both Joe and John a couple of times. Iím glad that theyíre both doing well. I hope that Joe will make it home for the holidays this year. Heís only in Washington, DC. That way at least you have one of us Hogan boys home with you.
There is not much to tell you about me. Like Iíve said many times, nothing much happens here. The same routine, day in and day out. The football game will be a nice diversion. My staff here, I know Iíve spoken of them to you, are terrific. I donít know what Iíd do without them. The four of them work tirelessly in keeping up morale here. Louis LeBeau is at this moment, preparing a Ďfeastí for tonight in honor of the holiday. All the men are looking forward to it. So as you can see, things here remain pretty quiet.
I know you hate when I say this, but Iím still not happy being sidelined from this war. I hate sitting on my butt, doing nothing. But, I guess, I just have to face the fact that there isnít much I can do.
Hogan looked up from his desk and stared at the wall. Liar. You have perfected the art of manipulation. Leaving out the truth is becoming second nature. I donít really know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. He sighed and folded the letter into its envelope. Heíd drop it into the mail before noon roll call. The football game will start at 1300 hours. After the game, he had a mission briefing with Kinch and Newkirk. Tonight, at midnight, they were going to blow up the munitions dump six miles from Camp. Not quite in the holiday spirit. Or just maybe, the Fourth of July will be coming a little early this year.
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