A Soldiers Christmas

Bonnie

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The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
>>
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
>> My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
>> My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
>> Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
>> Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
>> The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
>> Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
>> My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
>> Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
>> In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
>> So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
>>
>> The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
>> But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
>> Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
>> sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
>> My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
>> And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
>> Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
>> A lone figure stood, his f ace weary and tight.
>>
>> A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
>> Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
>> Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
>> Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
>> "What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
>> "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
>> Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
>> You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
>>
>> For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
>> Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
>> To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
>> Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
>> I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
>> "It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
>> That separates you from the darkest of times.
>> No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
>> I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
>> My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
>> Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."My dad stood

>> his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
>> And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
>> I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
>> But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
>>
>> Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
>> The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
>> I can live through the cold and the being alone,
>> Away from my family, my house and my home.
>> I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
>> I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
>> I can carry the weight of killing another,
>> Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
>> Who stand at the front against any and all,
>> To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
>>
>> "So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
>> Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
>> "But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
>> "Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
>> It seems all too little for all that you've done,
>> For being away from your wife and your son."
>> Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
>> "Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
>> To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
>> To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
>> For when we come home, either standing or dead,
>> To know you remember we fought and we bled.
>> Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
>> That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq.
 

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