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The Night Before Christmas

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 did I see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the 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 house of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
curled upon 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 just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realized the families I saw on this night,
owed their lives to these soldiers, who were willing to fight.
Soon round the world the childen 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 started 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.
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!
--Author Unknown