Date: Thursday December 14, 2017 at 4:17pm
Twas the night before Christmas, he lived not alone,
In a bombed-out house made of mud & 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 the fire, just boots filled with sand, on the wall hung webbing and rifles in hands.
No medals or badges, awards of all kind a sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, so dark and dreary,
I knew I had found the home of soldiers, 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 there he lay sleeping silent alone, curled up on the floor in someone else’s home.
His face so gentle, his room in such disorder, not how I pictured a veteran soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?
Curled up on his dossbag, a floor for his bed?
His head was not shaven, his weathered face tanned,
I soon understood this was more than a man.
For I realised the families that I saw that night owed their lives to these men who were willing to fight.
Soon ‘round 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 couldn’t 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 don’t cry, this life is my choice;
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,
my life is my country, my unit and friends.”
With that he rolled over and drifted off into 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.
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 jacket all green and black, with dust and sweat, which covered the back.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride, and for a shining moment, I was soldier deep inside.
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, whispered with a voice so clean
“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!
Images © Crown copyright 2017 Author Unknown