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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 tears 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."

 

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)

Although I don't know who wrote this very touching poem, I would like to think it is dedicated to soldiers everywhere, and in particular to all those who never made it back home to share Christmas and other holidays with families and friends, and whose fate is still unknown.