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During a routine cleaning spree, William Zinsser came across a memento from a long-ago Christmas: a dinner menu from 1944, the year he spent the holiday with the 885th Bomb Squadron. “We lived in tents, hunched against the frozen Italian winter, keeping warm with a makeshift stove,” recalls Zinsser. Yet in the midst of the fighting, one man typed up a Christmas dinner menu, styled like those in a fancy restaurant. “Alone of all American holidays, Christmas has been held inviolate,” read a note typed on the back, “[so] men may have a brief respite from the grim business of war to restock their spiritual strength.” For Zinsser, the true nourishment that Christmas came not from the dinner, but from those words.