Even Christmas waited for Rob
A Sourthwest area couple has flipped its calendar forward five months to celebrate Christmas in July in honor of their serviceman son who missed the last holiday and won’t be here for the next one.
Army Spec. 4 Robert Benjamin was startled when he came home from Vietnam this week to 9240 Coral Way to find a white sign with red letters reading “Merry Xmas Rob.” Inside the neat suburban home he saw gaily wrapped presents under a six-foot CHristmas tree and he heard soft Christmas music on the stereo.
“Rob wasn’t with us last Christmas and he won’t be here this Christmas, so we decided to celebrate early,” explained his father, Emmett Benjamin.
His 21-year-old son has just completed 10 months in Vietnam. He arrived in Miami Monday for a 30-day leave before returning to teh embattled Southeast Asian country for another eight months of duty.
He wasn’t expected until the fall, but the Army moved up his leave so Rob could fly to the bedside of his grandmother, Mrs. Emmett Benjamin, Sr., who had suffered a severe heart attack.
Rob’s oldest sister, Jan (Mrs. Frank) Alfieri, 19, flew in from Philadelphia for the celebration.
Also joining in the reunion with the former Miami News carrier were his mother, Gloria, and his two other sisters, Pam, 15, and Joanne, 9.
The family has an unwritten agreement to avoid debating the merits of the war with their paratrooper son.
“We don’t agree with the purpose of the war but our son feels that his country needs him and we are proud of him,” said his father, who fought in both World War II and in Korea. I’m saving my pay checks to help pay for my college education,” said the youth who plans to study pre-law at Florida State University next year.