In times of war, the same themes seem to recur. In the fall of 1968, hundreds of Southern Oregon residents wanted to show their support for the American troops overseas in Vietnam. They did so by sending them what they hoped was the world’s longest Christmas card.
The Eagle Point Boosters Club came up with the idea. A large roll of white paper served as a long card that was unrolled and slowly filled with messages of goodwill. As it traveled to Medford, Grants Pass, Ashland and Central Point, it was scribbled on by a wide variety of people. Local government officials, heads of businesses, and members of civic organizations signed it, as did many students. Veterans of previous wars signed it; those too young to be drafted signed it, too.
Many of the signers thanked the unknown servicemen and women who would be far from home during the holidays. The messages varied from the yuletide greeting of a “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” to prayers for a safe return. Some drew pictures.
One signer expressed a wish that the United States send the soldiers a “really groovy Christmas present” — an end to the war.
Source: “‘Longest Letter’ Grows For Vietnam Soldiers.” Union Bulletin (Walla Walla, Wa.), October 2, 1968, p. 1. As It Was is a co-production of Jefferson Public Radio and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. As It Was stories are broadcast weekdays on Jefferson Public Radio and are available online at asitwas.org.