Viewpoint: Christmas poem honors soldiers’ sacrifices
A friend sent me this poem written by a Marine and thought you might be interested in using it.
‘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 the home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see; no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by 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 home of a soldier once I could see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone, curled up on 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’d just read? Curled 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 around 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 a 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 continued 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. Then 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.”
KM White, Rhinelander