Once again it is Yule and we still have many Troops deployed in hostile environments. Let us not forget them as we sit around our fires this year, attending festive parties, gorging ourselves incessantly and opening presents from the big jolly man. I will close reverently with this poem, author unknown but it always brings a tear to my eye as I can relate and feel pride with this Soldier.
Twas the night before Christmas,
he lived all alone,
in a one-bedroom home made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
and to see just whom in this house did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight did I see.
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land,
with medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
a sober thought came to mind.
For this house was different, it was dark and dreary.
I had found the home of a soldier, once I could see.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in disorder,
not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realized the families that I saw this night,
owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.
Soon round the world the children would play,
and grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn’t wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don’t cry, this is the life of my choice,
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,
my life is my God, my country, my corps.”
The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it, and continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still,
and we both shivered from the cold winter’s chill.
I didn’t want to leave on that cold, dark night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, whispered with a voice soft and pure,
“Carry on Santa, It’s Christmas day and all is secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
“Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!”