Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Guardian of Honor

TY Military
Guardian of Honor

‘Twas the “Night Before Christmas”
They 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 found the home of a Soldier,
Once I could see clearly.

The Soldier lay sleeping --
Silent, 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 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 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,
I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours,
So silent and still,
And we both shivered
From the cold night’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,
With a voice soft 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 Good Night.”

This poem was written by a Marine
stationed in Okinawa Japan.

Mahalo to Cathy Reilly for sharing this via email.

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