The embers glowed softly, and in their dim
I gazed round the room and I cherished the
My wife was
asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the
My soul gave
a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was
in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face 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
you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
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
window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all
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
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
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.
seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her
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..
I can stand at
the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not
"So go back
inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a
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.
payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
Our U.S. service men and women allow us to celebrate this
Holiday. Whether you have someone in the
military or not, we need to pause and think of
our heroes, who sacrifice for us.
Giles, SC, USN,
Logistics Cell One - Al Taqqadum,