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DOD: Celebrating Holiday Troop Traditions
Twas the night before Christmas,
he lived all alone, in a one bedroom home made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chiminey with presents to give
and to see just whom in this house did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight did I see.
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land,
with medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
a sober thought came to mind.
For this house was different, it was dark and dreary.
I had found the home of a soldier, once I could see.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in 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 grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn’t 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 is the life of 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, and continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still,
and we both shivered from the cold winter’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, whispered with a voice soft and pure,
“Carry on Santa, It’s Christmas day and all is secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
“Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!”