Peace is the greatest Christmas gift My grandfather's 1926 poem about the 'hate-torn world' after World War I continues to resonate today

Dec 12 2018 | 12:58 PM

To the Editor:
Just thought you folks may — or may not? — be interested in having the enclosed poem appear in your paper? I also enclose a copy of the Introduction as written by me and which provides some background for the poem. As noted in the enclosures the poem was written by my Grandfather George LeDioyt in 1926. He grew up on the prairie in Western Nebraska, the son of a widowed Mother who had settled on a claim filed under the Homestead Act of 1862. After working as a brakeman for the Union Pacific Railroad in the early days of the railroad he married, purchased a farm near the small town of Hershey, Nebraska, and spent the rest of his days living a respectful and unpretentious life as a farmer.
After reading the recent articles in your paper about Veterans Day, as well as the Chester Veterans who served in World War I and the 100th anniversary marking the end of World War I, I thought perhaps the timing of the poem may now be appropriate. And with the Christmas holidays now upon us once again, I thought your readers may see a connection between the poem and the same issues still facing us today. Perhaps today more than ever: When will we see peace prevail over the ongoing hate in this world?
John LeDioyt
Goshen, N.Y.
IntroductionMy grandfather George LeDioyt Sr., author of the following poems, was born Feb. 14, 1880, at Wjlmington, Illinois, and died at age 83 on May 25, 1963, at Hershey, Nebraska. My grandmother Myrtle Scharmann was born exactly one year later — also Valentine's Day — on Feb. 14, 1881, at North Platte, Nebraska, and died Jan. 19, 1970, at Ogallala, Nebraska. They married on Nov. 29, 1905, at North Platte.
My grandfather enjoyed writing poetry throughout his life as a hobby, and even as a small boy I remember his poems as part of our family. He never sought notoriety and never sought publication for any of his poetry. Some of his poems did appear occasionally in local and state wide publications, and though honored by the attention, for the most part that recognition was not his intent.
My cousin, Kay Tarr, nee Simon, compiled a hand-scripted book of some of our grandfather's poetry in 1978. Kay is the daughter of Dorothy Simon, nee LeDioyt, daughter of George and Myrtle. To my knowledge this was the only organized effort to preserve his poems in a single work. The effort included most of his poems, but not all;, and I have included here a few additional poems. Almost all the ones here are taken from original copies and a very few are in his own handwriting. Except for some minor editing, spelling corrections, etc., the words are as he composed them — for better or for worse — depending on your view!
George LeDioyt (from Kay's book, "Poetry")
DedicationMy grandfather, George LeDioyt, was born in Wilmington, Illinois, in 1880. He, his mother, three brothers, and one sister came to Paxton, Nebraska, in a covered wagon in 1885. He spent his boyhood in a sod house on the prairie.
In 1905 he married my grandmother Myrtle Scharmann in North Platte, Nebraska. Their friends said they were a "very handsome couple." They had three children and seven grandchildren.
They grew old together, in love with each other and with life. Grandma was his greatest admirer and loved his poetry. They gave me some of the happiest moments of my life.
I know Grandpa is still writing poems in heaven, where his sense of humor and love for others lives on.
Kay Tarr, 1978

Kay's words say so much with so little, and awaken in me similar emotions and memories of my childhood growing up in Western Nebraska. Grandpa's poems now appear as though in another time and place from long ago. Yet I feel so fortunate to be able to preserve a part of such wonderful family memories.
John LeDioyt, January, 2015
The Super GiftIf we could give unto the World
One Christmas gift supreme —
If we could make the Christmas joy
In every bosom gleam,
If people in this hate-torn world
Could just be made to see
The need of one great super gift,
I wonder what 'twould be?

Go ask two million mothers of the
French boys who were slain,
That greedy magnates might have coal
And iron from Lorraine;
Go ask the mothers of the boys
Who heard War's grim command,
And perished by the millions
Just to save the "Fatherland."

Go ask a million fathers of the
British boys who fell
And died for country and their King
'Mid gas and shot and shell;
And in our own land Christmas day
There's many a vacant chair
In place around our tables in
Heart-breaking memory there.

Oh Prince of Peace, we come to thee,
Our hearts bowed down with pain,
And pledge our selves that those we
Lost shall not have died in vain;
Peace is the greatest Christmas gift
That came down from on high,
Since that old Star of Bethlehem
Shone in the eastern sky.
George LeDioyt Sr. 1880-1963
Written April 15, 1926