Merry Christmas, My Friend

Carol

Crazy like a...
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Twas the night before Christmas; he lived all alone
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live.

As 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 pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind
A sobering thought soon came to my mind
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd 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 his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine
Was this the hero, of whom Id 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 around the Nation, the children would play
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year
Because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldnt 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 I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for 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."

With that he rolled over, 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 covered this Marine from his toes to his head
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold
With an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.

And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride
And for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside
I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.

But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure
Said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right...

Merry Christmas my friend,

Semper Fi

and goodnight.


- LCpl
James M. Schmidt, USMC
 
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