"THE SOLDIERS NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS"
By Major Bruce W. Lovely
(With Apologies to Clement Moore Who First Wrote the Story for His Children in 1822 also credit given to M/Sgt Noah Brazos Ross, RA18033195, a USArmy 18th Field Artillery survivor of Utah Beach, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Battle for the Ardennes, Deutschland wrote "Daddy's Christmas (Soldier's Christmas)" as a Bonita, Montague County, Texas, highschool exercise in 1937.)
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 knew I had found the home of a soldier,
once I could see clearly.
I heard stories about them,
I had to see more,
So I walked down the hall
and pushed open the door.
And the soldier lay sleeping
Curled up on the floor
in his one bedroom home.
His face so gentle,
his room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured
a United States soldier.
Was this the hero
of whom Iíd just read?
Curled up in his poncho,
a floor for his bed?
His head was clean shaven,
his weathered face tan,
I soon understood
this was more than a man.
For I realized the families
that I saw that night
Owed their lives to these men
who were willing to fight.
Soon Ďround the world,
the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate
on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom
each month of the year,
Because of soldiers
like this one lying here.
I couldnít help wonder
how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve
in a land far from home.
Just 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 donít cry,
this life is my choice;
I fight for freedom,
I donít ask for more,
my life is my God,
my country, my Corps."
With that he rolled over
and drifted off into sleep,
I couldnít control it,
I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours,
so silent and still,
I noticed he shivered
from the cold nightís chill.
So I took off my jacket,
the one made of red,
And I covered this Soldier
from his toes to his head.
And I put on his T-shirt
of gray and black,
With an eagle and an Army patch
embroidered on back.
And although it barely fit me,
I began to swell with pride,
And for a shining moment,
I was United States Army deep inside.
I didnít want to leave him
on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor
so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over,
with a voice so soft and pure,
whispered, "Carry on Santa,
itís 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!
I wrote this poem for Christmas Eve 1993 while assigned to
Forces Korea Lt Col Bruce Lovely, USAF
(Printed in the Fort Leavenworth Lamp, 1995)
PLEASE. Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as may people
as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and we should all be aware of
where credit for our being able to celebrate these festivities is due.
Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people
stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.
Please, do your small part to plant this small seed
Oh, the snowflakes fell in silence
over Belleau Wood that night
For a Christmas truce had been declared
By both sides of the fight
As we lay there in our trenches
The silence broke in two
By a German soldier singing
A song that we all knew
Though I did not know the language
The song was "Silent Night"
Then I heard my buddy whisper,
"All is calm and all is bright"
Then the fear and doubt surrounded me
"Cause I'd die if I was wrong
But I stood up in my trench And
I began to sing along
Then across the frozen battlefield
Anothers voice joined in
Until one by one each man became
A singer of the hymn
Then I thought that I was dreaming
For right there in my sight
Stood the German soldier
'Neath the falling flakes of white
And he raised his hand and smiled at me
As if he seemed to say
Here's hoping we both live
To see us find a better way
Then the devil's clock struck midnight
And the skies lit up again
And the battlefield where heaven stood
Was blown to hell again
But for just one fleeting moment
The answer seemed so clear
Heaven's not beyond the clouds
It's just beyond the fear
No, heaven's not beyond the clouds
It's for us to find it here
The CD is: Sevens
The cut is: Belleau Wood
The Authors are : Joe Henry and Garth Brooks Copyright 1997
The Corpsman's Christmas Poem
"'Twas the night before Christmas as I flew o'er the Marine Base,
when I spied a young man who seemed out of place.
His eyes showed compassion, his hair a bit long,
but his head was held high and his body was strong.
His air was confident, his uniform smart,
but what impressed me most was the size of his heart.
For he embodied honor, one of this country's best,
and the words U.S. NAVY showed large on his chest.
As I stood there in wonder and gazed into his eyes,
the words that he spoke took me quite by surprise.
"What's wrong Santa, haven't you ever seen a sailor before?"
I sensed something special and longed to know more.
"To be honest, this field thing wasn't part of my plan,
but God didn't give me a boat or tin can."
The words he spoke next surprised me all the more,
"But I'm as proud of my Navy as I am of the Corps!"
"Don't worry Santa, that I'm a sailor you see,
for when a Marine goes down they will still call on me.
They'll forget I'm a sailor, they'll call in my stock.
At the top of their lungs they'll yell ,"Get me the doc!"
"And I'll answer that call, anytime, anywhere.
Though I know I'm a target I really don't care.
I'll face incoming fire as I race cross the land,
and use my very own body to shield a downed man."
"Working long hours and into the night,
my unit's battle is over, but I'm just starting to fight.
For the life of every Marine is sacred to me.
I refuse to surrender them to death, and in that I'll find victory."
"And yet I'll take the time to comfort a dying man,
to sit down by his side, to reach out and hold his hand.
For it takes as much courage to care as to fight.
For just as the poem says, many don't "go gently into that night."
"Santa, it's not any one uniform that makes you a man,
but rather it's those ideals for which you choose to stand.
I draw my line here, it's long and it's plain.
For pain, hurt and suffering are the things I disdain."
I know very well that I may lose my life,
so that a Marine may see an unmet child and young wife.
So Santa, it really doesn't matter if they don't like my hair.
I'm a Navy Corpsman, their Doc, and I'll always be there."
"I follow the brave docs who have come long before,
from Belleau Wood, Iwo, and Lebanon's shore.
As history proudly shows, they all gave their best,
and for those who have died, surely they're blessed."
"At Inchon, the gulf and times during Tet,
our brothers have fallen, but we carry on yet.
For we carry their honor and legacy still."
As I held back my tears it took all of my will.
I had to leave him there for I had other plans,
but I knew in my heart that the Corps is in good hands.
As I flew away I heard his laughter, it rang so loud and clear.
"Hey Santa, how 'bout a nice pair of boots for the 26 miler next year?"
HMC(FMF/SW) Mark Forsberg
2/3 UDP, Okinawa, December 1997
"A BATTLE PRAYER"
Young Warriors; Should fate find you on the battlefield, May your cause be a just one. May your courage not falter. May you show mercy to your enemies. May your efforts bring the blessings of peace. May you be triumphant and earn victory. May your sacrifice be always appreciated. May you endure the conflict unharmed. Should you be harmed, May your wounds heal. Should you perish in the struggle, May God embrace you and find a Place for you in his Kingdom.
by : Scott A.Tackett Sr.
I am one of America's soldiers who received a copy of "A Soldier's Christmas" over the internet, and I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for giving some of my friends and family an opportune way to say 'thanks.' It meant a lot to me.
I have not been stationed in the US since 1995, and the nature of my job will keep me overseas throughout my career. Although I am not always viewed as that soldier with "dusty boots," I know all too well what it is like to be away from home for so long -- especially during the holidays.
I would like, however, to take this opportunity to thank you, and America, for being the fine, grand, noble Nation that makes each and every one of us out here serving in the military extremely proud of the country and the people we protect.
You don't necessarily have to pray for us soldiers, as we have chosen this life....and we will sacrifice our life for OUR people and OUR country. No, do not pray for us this holiday season.....Pray for OUR Nation and Her people......for only then will the life we 'chose' be worthwhile.
Yes, I do pray for peace on Earth...always. But, "there will be wars, and rumors of wars," so, in the meantime; maybe, just maybe, this year you can put out a suggestion to OUR American people......
We tend to fly our flag on 4th of July, we tend to fly our flag on Veteran's Day......maybe this year, through your web-site, you could maybe "ask" the American people to put a small American Flag on their Christmas Tree, amongst their ornaments, (or within their own religious ceremony/custom) just to "remember." A small reminder that "we" are free to celebrate whatever holiday, however we please, because of that flag and what She represents.
Sir, I have volunteered to protect ALL Americans....Christian, Jewish, Agnostic, even Atheist......it is my proud honor to do so.... and all I ask is that maybe, during this "holiday" season (whether one believes in it or not) is your help in asking "America" to wave Her flag in Unity and be thankful for our Grand Nation. It would mean a lot to us out here, wherever we are......
"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 and my corps."
and with all due respects to the Major, I add.....
America, my country-men,
Our flag is our life.....
We've accepted your ancestors
Through struggle, through strife...
We've come a long way,
Yes, a long way to go....
But we're out here defending,
The life that you know.
What you believe,
Is not my concern,
I carry my weapon.....
I'm proud to serve you,
Wherever I'm sent,
For you are Americans...
From Allah to Lent....
And so my dear county-men,
I ask of you this...
Display Our flag,
And remember our bliss....
For I am out "here"
On this Christmas Day....
And I want you proud...
.......LONG MAY SHE WAVE.....
a service member.....
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white
transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
a lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light.
Then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
"My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?"
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us".
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL,
MILITARY PERSONNEL EVERY NIGHT. Thanks!
And looked across the table where the bills were piled too high.
The laundry wasn?t finished and the car I had to fix,
My stocks were down another point, the Dolphins lost by six.
And so with only minutes till my son got home from school,
I gave up on the drudgery and grabbed a wooden stool.
The burdens that I carried were about all I could take,
And so I flipped the TV on to catch a little break.
I came upon a desert scene in shades of tan and rust,
No snowflakes hung upon the wind, just clouds of swirling dust.
And where the reindeer should have stood before a laden sleigh,
Eight hummers ran a column behind and M1A.
A group of boys walked past the tank, not one was past his teens.
Their eyes were hard as polished flint, their faces drawn and lean.
They walked the street in armor with their rifles shouldered tight,
Their dearest wish for Christmas, just to have a silent night.
Other soldiers gathered, hunkered down against the wind,
To share a scrap of mail and dreams of going home again.
There wasn't much at all to put their lonely hearts at ease,
They had no Christmas turkey, just a pack of MREs.
They didn't have a garland or a stocking I could see,
They didn't need an ornament, they lacked a Christmas Tree.
They didn't have a present even though it was tradition,
The only boxes I could see were labeled "ammunition."
I felt a little tug and found my son now by my side,
He asked me what it was I feared, and why it was I cried.
I swept him up into my arms and held him oh so near
And kissed him on the forehead as I whispered in his ear.
There's nothing wrong my little son, for safe we sleep tonight,
Our heroes stand on foreign land to give us all the right.
To worry on the things in life that mean nothing at all,
Instead of wondering if we will be the next to fall.
He looked at me as children do and said it's always right,
To thank the ones that help us and perhaps that we should write.
And so we pushed aside the bills and sat to draft a note,
To thank the many far from home, and this is what we wrote:
God Bless You all and keep you safe, and speed your way back home,
Remember that we love you so, and that you're not alone.
The gift you give you share with all, a present every day,
You give the gift of liberty and that we can't repay,
Christmas Past(s)=> Index
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