Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and he lived 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.
As I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
A sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone
Curled up on the floor of his one bedroom home.
He seemed so gentle, his face so serene -
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.

Was this the hero, of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on his poncho, a floor for his bed?
His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
Owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on a bright Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year
Because of Marines like this one lying here.
I couldn't help but wonder how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.

Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.
He must have awoken, for 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."

With that he rolled over and drifted off into sleep.
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I didn't want to leave him so alone in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But as he rolled over, in a voice clean and pure,
said, "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all is secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friends, Semper Fi and goodnight.
(I did not write this, and I am not sure who did. I give credit to an author unknown)

No comments: