Veterans’ Christmas Carol

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’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,
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 up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realized the families that I see 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 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 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 the cold, dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, and 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.”
Please keep our military families in your prayers.