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Isabel's parachute artwork

The winners of the “Christmas Parachutes” art contest, sponsored by Elva Resa Publishing and the 82nd Airborne Division FRG office, have been announced: Isabel, age 11, from Aberdeen, NC; Emma, age 11, from Raeford, NC; and Luke, age 5, from Sanford, NC.  Young artists were invited to submit works of art based on the poem “Christmas Parachutes” by Michelle Tonsmeire, 82nd Airborne Division spouse.  The winners received a gift certificate and an autographed copy of Military Life: Stories and Poems for Children, an award-winning children's book that features the poem "My Daddy Jumps Today" by Michelle Tonsmeire.

by Michelle Tonsmeire

I’ll tell you a story, about a Christmas Eve not so long ago,
A story about soldiers, who jump from planes, or “troopers” as they’re known.
This particular Christmas Eve, a full moon shown bright,
It was a starry and cold North Carolina night.

The troopers were told to load on a plane,
And land on a drop zone, not so very far away. 
They had hooked up their static lines and were going to the door,
When something happened that had never happened before…….

Above their heads they heard a clatter, almost a pitter-patter -
The plane swerved and they knew something really was the matter.
The jumpmaster went to the door and looked up, down, and all around,
But try as he might, he could not find the source of that very strange sound!

The troopers all shrugged and decided to jump -
After all, couldn’t it have been just a little bump?
The last trooper was just pulling on his risers,
When out of his right eye he saw something quite surprising!

A red little light was coming ever so quick –
There was not time to move – no, not a lick!

Just when the trooper began to dread,
He saw what looked like Santa,
nine reindeer (including Rudolph) and a sled!
The flying reindeer looked at the trooper with surprise,
As the trooper looked back with big bugged out eyes!

Laughing, Santa began to weave through all the troopers falling,
And as he flew, the parachutes began changing, by golly!
Red, green, candy cane striped and others -
All the parachutes became Christmas colors! 

The troopers could not believe their eyes,
As the Christmas parachutes floated in the sky.
In fact, the sky looked like a giant Christmas tree,
With the parachutes as ornaments for all below to see. 

Santa Ho-Ho’ed and jingled all the way,
Until he came to the last trooper in his sleigh.
As he flew past, he gave a little wink,
And the parachutes, they all changed back in a blink! 

The troopers landed on the ground,
And as fast as they could, stood up and turned around.
They watched the sleigh until it flew out of sight,
Knowing they would never, ever forget that Christmas Eve night!

HO, HO, HO –


Click the images of the artwork below to see a larger image.

by Isabel

by Emma

by Luke

Congratulations to our young artists!

Check out this award-winning book for military kids!

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