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’Twas The Night Before
Christmas 2001
 

’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 I did see,
No tinsel, no presents,
Not even a tree.

No stocking by mantle,
Just boots filled with sand,
And on the wall pictures
Of far distant lands.

With medals and badges,
Awards of all kinds,
A sobering thought
Came to my mind.

For this house was different,
So dark and so dreary,
The home of a soldier,
Now 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 up 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 round the world,
The children would play,
And grown-ups 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.?br>
The soldier rolled over
And soon 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 evening’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.?br>
One look at my watch,
And I knew he was right.
“Merry Christmas, my friend,
And to all a Good Night.?/i>
    This poem was written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan.
CHANGE wishes readers a Merry Christmas.