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THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

By Grey Eagle, Army

Writing Type: Poem

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 mantel, just boots filled with sand;
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
And a sobering thought ran through my mind --

For this house was different, it was dark and so dreary,
The house of a soldier, at once I saw 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 at all 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 I saw on this night
Owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.
And 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 feel no remorse.
My life is my God, my country, my Force.
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,
As both of us shivered from the cold night’s chill.
I didn’t want to leave on that cold, dark night-
The Guardian of Honor so willing to fight.

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!

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