Norman wrote a letter home appealing to the women of Atlanta to help her once again bring Christmas cheer to French soldiers. In the previous year of 1916 they had sent hundreds of Christmas presents to Norman for her wounded , which was recounted in the post of 30th November 2013.
‘Current Events from a Womens Point of View’
An Appeal from Norman Derr
Mrs Albert Thornton, chairman of the educational department of the Atlanta Red Cross chapter, has recently received a letter from Miss Norman Derr, who for three years has given her services as a nurse in the French military hospitals.
Miss Derr made a short visit to her relatives in Atlanta in the summer of 1916, and thrilled Atlanta’s Red Cross workers, led by Mrs Richard Johnston with the stories of her hospital work.
Following her address here at the home of Mrs Albert Thornton and elsewhere, Miss Derr was remembered by the Atlanta women who sent her a Christmas box for her soldiers. Still grateful for that, Miss Derr writes about the coming again of Christmas as follows:
“The Christmas tree, I long to realise this year looms gigantic as an ancient cyclopean* whose branches stretch out to the first line trenches over there behind the hill!
Never did anyone have a more glorious opportunity to spread sunshine for beside being so near the scene of action (the German lines are clearly visible from here) and in this hospital alone there are now 3,500 beds which number will be raised to 5,000. Won’t you fire Atlanta to do something really big for her adopted child lost in this remote picturesque valley in Champagne? It would be so wonderful to have an Atlanta Christmas of real importance, and when I remember the swiftness and quality of your last year’s effort it seems perfectly reasonable. On account of the uncertainty of transport, cases should be sent as soon as possible addressed to me. There are a great many people impressed to give an entire comfort bag who might send an article. I want just everything I can get, a greed that is excusable under the circumstances! I purchased instruments with the generous check you sent to me”.
Anyone wishing to contribute to Miss Derr’s Christmas tree for French soldiers may communicate with Mrs Albert Thornton.
* a type of ancient masonry made with massive irregular blocks.
Constitution, Atlanta, GA, Sunday October 28, 1917 with permission of ProQuest Historical Newspapers Atlanta Constitution (1868 -1945)