by LukeAmerica2020 This holiday season, men and women of our armed services are in the deserts of Iraq, the mountains of Afghanistan, and stationed elsewhere around the world.
As Christmas approaches, let’s remember those who give so much, the sacrifices that they and their loved ones have made in support of our great country. Let’s remember those who have bravely fallen in the march for freedom. Let’s thank those who are with us and those who are overseas … for their patriotic service … thank you.
The following poem (and video rendition), originally entitled “Merry Christmas, My Friend” was written by a marine, Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt in 1986 to hang on the door of the Gym. When Colonel D.J. Myers came upon it, he read it and immediately had copies sent to each department at the Barracks and promptly dismissed the entire Battalion early for Christmas leave.
After widespread circulation, it was published in the Barracks publication Pass in Review in 1989. It was also reprinted in Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) in December 1991.
Over the years, the text of the poem has been altered to make it more military-generic and to incorporate line-ending rhyme changes necessitated by those alterations. The version below is a minor variation … to match the accompanying YouTube slideshow presentation.
This video is from the Anthonyc77 YouTube channel.
‘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 dwelling did live.
I looked all around, a strange sight to see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stockings on the mantle, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of every kind,
A sobering thought came alive in my mind.
For this house was different; it was dark and dreary,
It was the home of a soldier, I could see that most clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
His 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?
Then I realized the families that I saw this night,
Owed their lives to soldiers who were willing to fight.
In the morning ’round the world, children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
But they all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help but wonder how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve in lands far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to one knee and started to cry.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don’t cry, for 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,
But I couldn’t control it, I continued 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 him, on that cold, dark night,
This guardian of honor, so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,
he 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 … may God bless you this night.