Pilot gave us great music

Published 12:29 am Saturday, May 26, 2012

When I opened a drawer searching for a lost item, my hand fell on a yellowing book with no cover. Although I had pushed it around in the drawer, I’d never looked inside it. By the title, “Index of Division Histories,” I knew it was something my husband acquired during his military service. The index listed pages for military infantry, armored, and airborne divisions, and a cavalry division.

Pack rat that my husband was, I believe he saved a treasure-trove of information in that 94-page compilation. Within the acknowledgement page is the statement, “The history of the 90 divisions is the history of World War II…unit by unit like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, they fit together to outline the great campaigns.” It further states that the information was prepared so close on the heels of victory that in due time, historians would weigh data unavailable at that time to write authentic histories. It included information on each division’s training areas, commanding generals, awards, combat highlights, along with black and white pictures and descriptions of the division patches. Up to that time, no divisions in American history had added more glory to its pages than these, the acknowledgement concluded.

Carefully turning the fragile pages, I saw the 82nd Airborne Division patch that I’ve seen soldiers wear through the years. The name of the division song was “The All American Soldier,” with words by Sgt Sigman. The double A in the patch stood for “All American,” so that explained the title. It began, “Put on your boots, boots, boots and parachute-chutes-chutes. We’re going up, up, up and coming down, down, down. We’re all American and proud to be, for we’re the soldiers of liberty.”

Sgt. Carl Sigman served in the glider division of the 82nd Airborne. He received a $25 war bond for the words of the all American soldier song. He was among about 6,000 American military glider pilots and glider infantry. They wore no parachutes in combat missions. Our glider pilots, along with airborne forces, spearheaded all the major WWII invasions, landing behind enemy lines in their unarmed gliders in Sicily, Normandy, Southern France, Holland, Bastogne, Rhine Crossing, Luzon in the Philippines, and Burma. In my eyes, Sgt. Sigman and all his glider comrades were truly heroes.

Although Carl Sigman studied law, he never practiced. Music was his first love. According to his son, he had 800 songs to his credit by the time he died in 2002. He wrote either lyrics or music or both of some songs, or in collaboration with others. See if any of these songs of his sound familiar or set you humming or trying to remember some of the tunes and words: “A Marshmallow World,” “Arrivederci Roma,” “All Too Soon,” “Careless Hands,” “Crazy He Calls Me,” “Ebb Tide,” “Enjoy Yourself,” “It’s All in the Game,” “My Heart Cries For You,” “Shangri-La,” “What Now My Love,” “You’re My World,” and “Where Do We Begin (Love Story).”