The Night Before Christmas
[And edited by me]
[And edited by me]
T'was the night before Christmas, and he slept on the ground,
In a simply made shelter of canvas all round.
I came through the tent flap, with presents to give,
And to see just who in this shelter did live.
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking was hung, just boots filled with sand,
And pins held up photos of far distant lands.
A small box held medals and awards of all kinds,
A sobering thought then entered my mind.
This place was different, it was dark and dreary,
I'd found the tent of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
The young man lay sleeping, his weapon nearby,
Ready to fight, and even to die.
His face was so gentle, his 'home' all in order,
I stood and just looked at this American 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 our 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 laying here.
I couldn't help wonder, how many were 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 fell back asleep,
I couldn't control it, 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,
This guardian of honor, so willing to fight.
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.'