The Night Before Christmas

 

  Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone
  In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
  I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
  And to see just who in this home did live.
  I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,
  No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
  No stocking by the mantle, just boots filled with sand,
  on the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
  With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
  a sober thought came through my mind.
  For this house was different, it was dark and dreary,
  I found the house of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
  The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
  curled upon the floor in this one bedroom home.
  The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,
  Not how I pictured a United States soldier.
  Was this the hero of whom I just read?
  Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
  I realized the families I saw on 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 all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
  Because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
  I couldn’t help 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 life is 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, I started to weep.
  I kept watch for hours, so silent and still
  And we both shivered from the cold night’s chill.
  I didn’t want to leave on that cold, dark night
  This Guardian of Honor so willing to fight.
  The soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,
  whispered, “Carry on, Santa,
  It’s Christmas Day, All is secure.”
  One look at my watch and I knew he was right
  Merry Christmas, my friend, and to all a Good Night!
                                          -Author Unknown

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