Not everyone gets their Christmas wish to come true — but Angela Lashley just got word that hers will arrive shortly, and more importantly, safely.
Lashley received official news earlier this week that her son, Pvt. Jonathan Wisniewski, a member of the U.S. Army serving with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, will be home from Iraq in time for Christmas.
Since hearing the good news, Lashley said she finds herself “almost jolly … like a child on Christmas morning.”
Instead of writing her wish on a list for Santa Claus, Lashley had recorded it in a song titled, “So Brave.”
“If you ship out in September, will my Christmas wish bring you home in December?” is the question posed twice in the song dedicated to her son, his friend Brandon and all other American troops.
The song, referred to by some as “The Military Mother’s Anthem,” is one that many military families, especially mothers, can relate to — especially since Lashley herself is singing it. Parents have sent numerous of letters and e-mails of gratitude for the song, which they say expresses their feelings of pride in their brave children for dutifully serving their country with honor.
“That is very fulfilling to me — that it has been a comfort to so many,” Lashley said. “The song is very personal to me.”
In the song, Lashley talks of watching her son’s bravery develop over the years, including the time he defended “a little guy” from a bully — the “little guy” happens to be Jonathan’s best friend, Brandon Kintop, who is also serving in Iraq.
When Jonathan enlisted in the Army earlier this year, feeling it his duty to take a break from his college studies and serve his country, the idea for the song entered her mind, she said. But it wasn’t until he got orders to go to Iraq that the song came together.
Lashley said she has dabbled in music for years, but it wasn’t until she finished raising her two children, Jonathan and his sister Danielle, that she moved with her husband Jeffrey Wisniewski from a suburb of Milwaukee, Wis., to Nashville, Tenn., two years ago to pursue her dream career as a songwriter.
Through the encouragement and assistance of family, friends, fellow military mothers, music industry experts (such as her co-writer Byron House), Lashley was able to produce a CD that her son has proudly shared with other troops in the field.
"I thought I was going to be embarrassed [when I first heard the song], but in the end I was proud," Jonathan told a reporter for the American Forces Press Service via e-mail a few weeks ago, adding that “I showed a few of my buddies in my tent, and they all liked it.”
The song, which was written without a political agenda, has been endorsed by the Blue Star Mothers of America, a non-ideological, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting mothers and their children and promoting patriotism.
Karen Stevens, president of Blue Star Mothers of America, said the board voted overwhelmingly to endorse the song because “mothers serve silently and this song touches each of our hearts.”
As the song increases in popularity, it has been a powerful public relations tool for the Blue Star Mothers, said Stevens.
The song is played regularly on HOOAH radio, a station dedicated to saluting troops and their families, and was recently aired by Melanie Morgan on San Francisco’s KSFO. It can be downloaded from iTunes or ordered from SoBraveSong.com. Lashley said First Lady Laura Bush has even requested a personal copy through her secretary.
Lashley will be reunited with Jonathan at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where she is performing on December 15-16. The duo will promote the song as well as Blue Star Mothers. Lashley said she hopes to gather donations for what she deems an extremely worthy cause.