The American St. Nick

The American St. Nick

5.0 5
by Peter Lion

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American soldiers are more than combatants on a battlefield, they are also representatives of America and her people. On an overcast day in 1944, two soldiers from the 28th Infantry Division gave a remarkable Christmas gift to the people of Wiltz, Luxembourg - a gift that changed the people of Wiltz forever.


American soldiers are more than combatants on a battlefield, they are also representatives of America and her people. On an overcast day in 1944, two soldiers from the 28th Infantry Division gave a remarkable Christmas gift to the people of Wiltz, Luxembourg - a gift that changed the people of Wiltz forever.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This story should take its place right up there with those American Christmas classics, and best of all it's true!

The American St Nick should be required reading, to remind us that real people are fighting wars, not just "soldiers". The gratitude shown by the people of Wiltz should also remind us that fighting oppression is something America has done for generations. The American St. Nick is a true life Christmas story sure to bring tears of joy to your eyes. Lion is masterful in his recreation of this new modern American Christmas classic. I found myself thinking many times, that the story behind The American St. Nick was literally "too good to be true", but it IS true, and the author has the pictures included to prove it.

Jim Parisi, Coastal News; Nov 5 2003

Michael Thompson
[Peter] does a good job of showing that even a seemingly unimportant act of kindness has long-term consequences and blessings.
WindRiver Reader

Product Details

WindRiver Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.63(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

A light afternoon rain fell as Frank McClelland surveyed the dense forest that surrounded him. He was surprised by how little the woods had changed. The forest floor, which saw little sunlight even on the brightest days, was still littered with pine needles, wispy ferns, and the dead branches of ancient pines that stretched skyward ninety feet or more. He had come back to these woods on the outskirts of Doncols, Luxembourg, hoping to answer a question that had remained neatly folded in a corner of his mind for more than thirty years.

Frank was a solidly built man whose fifty-nine years showed in his thinning, white-streaked hair and his time-lined face. He's always wondered what, if anything, he could have done differently back on that bitter snowy day in December 1944. It was a painful question that he had asked himself over and over through the years as time healed his physical and emotional wounds. But he knew he would never find the answer to his question without coming back to this forest and standing among these trees once again. He knew that if he could return to this wooded hillside it would somehow take him back in time, through the layers of years to December 21, 1944, when twenty-four-year-old Sergeant Frank McClelland had led his small group of MPs out of the small sleepy town of Wiltz for the last time.

The MPs had been the last of the rear guard of the American 28th Infantry Division. They had been ordered to hold the town as long as possible against the attacking Germans, buying time for the rest of the men to withdraw. Once the town was clear, Frank and his men were to move through the dense woods of the Ardennes Forest, using it for cover in an effort to elude the advancing German troops and get to the town of Bastogne a few miles to the west.

It was the beginning of the last major German offensive of World War II . . . an offensive that Army Command deemed high unlikely. The German army was said to be on the defensive, retreating into Germany and fortifying its defenses for a final stand against an Allied push. The fall of Berlin and the end of the war were forthcoming. There was a chance that the war might even be over by Christmas.

Meet the Author

Peter graduated from Southern Connecticut State University where he honed his writing skills while again writing for the student newspaper and studying Journalism. In his senior year he had his first magazine article published in Hartford Magazine, before graduating with a BA in Journalism and minors in Communications and English. He currently works as a director for ESPN.

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The American St. Nick 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
bw-s More than 1 year ago
This book was written about my great uncle who during WWII brought hope and joy to a town that had nothing. He is 87 years old and just recently went back to Luxembourg to play St. Nick for probably the very last time. What an honor that the town still celebrates every year and the celebration continues to grow bigger every year with people coming from all over the world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the story of how my grandfather ('Bumpa') changed the lives of the residents of Wiltz. I know a lot of readers feel this story is too good to be true...and I felt that way too when I was growing up, until I saw it in action. In 1994 Bumpa took the whole family to Wiltz for the 50th anniversary of the American St. Nicholas. Even today, the thought of this amazing town celebrating what the 28th Infantry did for their citizens, and recognizing my Bumpa for the amazing man he is, brings a lump in my heart and tears to my eyes. Thank you to all who loved this book and love my Bumpa. He's a great man and inspiration to me and my family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Peter Lion brings new light to a tiny flicker of joy in the darkest moments of World War II and tells the tale of a holiday tradition that lives into the 21st Century. In December of 1944, American soldiers from the 28th Infantry Division were stationed in the village of Wiltz, Luxembourg. Two members of the Signal Corps, knowing they wouldn't be home for Christmas, decided that the next best thing would be to celebrate the holidays in Wiltz. With gifts and treats donated by soldiers from the 28th, they gave the town's children a full-blown St. Nicolas Day party on December 6th, complete with a visit from the beloved Saint (an American soldier dressed in cleric's vestments and a bishop's miter). After the war, many of the participants put aside the memories of that day along with the horrors of the war but the people of Wiltz never forgot. Every year, they observe December 6 as both St. Nicolas Day and the anniversary of the visit from the American St. Nick. One of the town's men assumes the coveted role in the annual celebration. Through a series of chance turns-of-events, the first American St. Nicolas is tracked down and over thirty years later, he returns to Wiltz on St. Nicolas Day. Filling the inevitable gaps in memory with vibrant fiction, Peter Lion's story leaps from the page with a vitality that transports the reader through time and distance into the streets of Wiltz in 1944. The two photo sections are filled with the kind of pictures one lingers over. There's material here for a feature film or a perennial holiday TV movie. We can only hope some studio folks with good sense have read 'The American St. Nick'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book twice, once to get the story and a second time to get over my disbelief. What these soldiers did for the kids in that town, during the bleakness of WWII, was completely selfless and wonderful. THEY are what heros are all about! If the story doesn't get to you, the many pictures which document the events in the book will! This book is destined to be a holiday classic. Get it now!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful story that touches the heart! More than once, it brought tears to my eyes. The author truly brings the reader back in time to WWII and shows how the spirit of Christmas came to life in the hearts of some very special soldiers despite the bleak circumstances of 1944. The story is also a reminder that everyone who serves, no matter what their rank, is an ambassador for their country and will leave lasting memories on those lives that they touch. A highly recommended book that I have passed along to many friends.