Published Saturday, December 29, 2012

Home For The Holidays: It's only a dream for two Cowetans

By W. WINSTON SKINNER

winston@newnan.com

“...I’ll be home for Christmas – if only in my dreams...”

The words from that 1943 classic have resounded with military personnel from the day Bing Crosby’s baritone first sounded the words.

Written from the standpoint of a soldier overseas during World War II, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” still captures the feelings about home and family that the holiday season brings.

Some area families have been blessed to have loved ones home from overseas military service during the holidays. Army Major Frank Cortez of Peachtree City was able to experience Christmas at home with his wife, Beth, and daughter, Ainsley, after an arrival at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

Cortez has been stationed in Kuwait.

For Dontae Jones and Chris Copper, however, Christmas at home was only in their dreams. The two men are stationed in Afghanistan, and the two Cowetans have struck up a friendship on the other side of the globe.

Jones, a resident of Newnan, said he now considers Copper “a friend of mine.”

The two share being Coweta residents, but did not meet until both were in Afghanistan.

“The story behind us is that I’ve never met the guy before in my life until I left the United States on deployment,” Jones said. “When we first met and talked about where we were from, we were amazed that we traveled across the world just to meet someone who lives down the street from each other.”

The two men sent their holiday wishes to their families back home in Coweta County “since we will not be home this year to say it to them in person,” Jones said.

According to songfacts.com , “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” quickly became one of America’s most popular holiday songs” after Crosby recorded it in 1943.

“The song particularly struck a nerve with overseas GIs and their families awaiting their return from serving their country in World War II,” according to the website.

Dozens of musical artists have recorded the song, which has also been the theme for at least three films.

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