“Merry Christmas, My Friend”
'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.
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, so dark and dreary,
the home of a soldier, now I could see clearly.
The solider lay sleeping, silent, and 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 around 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 I started to cry.
The solider 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 solider rolled over and drifted off to sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
The soldier rolled over, and whispered with a voice clean and pure,
“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 goodnight.
Written By Marine Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt