MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEARS 2017

MERRY CHRISTMAS MARINES

 

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 I’d 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 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 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.


 

By James M. Schmidt, a Marine Lance Corporal stationed in Washington, D.C., in 1986

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