December 25, 2015

1940. Edward R. Murrow from London on Christmas

A Grim Christmas in London

Edward R. Murrow

CBS London

December 24, 1940

EDWARD R. MURROW: Christmas Day began in London nearly an hour ago. The church bells did not ring at midnight. When they ring again, it will be to announce invasion. And if they ring, the British are ready. And all along the coast of this island, the observers revolve in their reclining chairs listening for the sound of German planes. The firefighters and the ambulance drivers are waiting too. The blackout stretches from Birmingham to Bethlehem, but tonight, over Britain, the skies are clear.

This is not a merry Christmas in London. I have heard that phrase only twice in the last three days. This afternoon, as the stores were closing, as shoppers and office workers were hurrying home, one heard such phrases as "So long, Mamie" and "Good luck, Jack," but never a "Merry Christmas."

It can't be a merry Christmas, for those people who spend tonight and tomorrow by the firesides in their own homes realize that they have bought this Christmas with their nerve, their bodies, and their old buildings. Their nerve is unshaken, the casualties have not been large, and there are many old buildings still untouched.

Tonight there are a few Christmas parties in London. A few expensive dinners at famous hotels. But there are no fancy paper hats and no firecrackers.

I should like to add my small voice to give my own Christmas greetings to friends and colleagues at home. A Merry Christmas. So long, and good luck.