In December of 1952, I was in the Army stationed at Clark Air Force Base, which was located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. All my fellow soldiers in our Quonset hut agreed that we should celebrate Christmas by having our own Christmas tree. We soon realized that what we think of as “Christmas” trees didn’t grow on Clark. Not being deterred by that fact, we decided to “build” a Christmas tree. After all, how hard could it be?
Our first step was to visit the carpentry shop on base and pick up some scrap lumber to make a tree trunk, limbs, and a stand. We also needed to borrow a saw, hammer, and nails. Then the fun began. The good news was that no one was hurt while trying to build the tree, and the finished tree, although somewhat lopsided, looked pretty good.
We decorated it with pieces of the colored wrapping paper that were on the Christmas presents sent us from home. And on Christmas we gathered around our Christmas tree, sang carols, and thought about our friends and families back home.
–Billy Shands, Resident