Sunday January 16, 2022
SNc Channels:

Search
About Salem-News.com

 

Dec-06-2008 16:00printcomments

A Marine's Christmas Poem

A special poem for special Americans who defend this country in uniform.

Salem-News.com
Scenes from Christmas in Afghanistan, 2006
Photos by Tim King Salem-News.com

(SEAL BEACH, Calif.) - This poem was written in 1986, by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt while on duty in Washington D.C., and originally published in Leatherneck Magazine in 1991. Rich & Maureen Hamilton of Seal Beach, California say the message is important. Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities.

"Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us. Please, do your small part to plant this small seed," Richard Hamilton said.

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
PLASTER AND 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.

Scenes from an Afghan Christmas, 2006

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO
OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN'T HELP WONDER
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

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 GOD,
MY! COUNTRY, MY CORPS.'

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN'T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.

I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, '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.'

If you are curious about what life is like for servicemen and women in war during the holiday season, check out this Salem-News.com report by Tim King: Celebrating Holidays in the the Afghanistan War Zone (VIDEO)




Comments Leave a comment on this story.
Name:

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.



unknow December 23, 2008 3:05 pm (Pacific time)

this is a beutiful poem, we would like to thank all the soldiers for the freedom we have to spend christmas with friends and family. and we thank God for being with you.


Ariel McKinnon December 6, 2008 5:26 pm (Pacific time)

I have read this poem for about 3 or 4 years now and every time it brings tears to my eyes. My husband is not in the pictures above because he was one of the lucky ones who got to spend his 2 week leave with his family for Christmas, but I feel for all the soldiers and their families that have to spend the holidays apart. I am so thankful to personally know so many of the soldiers who willingly and honorably serve our country. This is the hardest time of year to have them overseas. Thanks to all of you.

[Return to Top]
©2022 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


Articles for December 5, 2008 | Articles for December 6, 2008 | Articles for December 7, 2008


Donate to Salem-News.com and help us keep the news flowing! Thank you.


The NAACP of the Willamette Valley

googlec507860f6901db00.html
Annual Hemp Festival & Event Calendar