A Different Christmas Poem


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 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  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."


PLEASE, Would you do me the  kind favor of sending this to as many people as

you can? 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.


LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN

30t h Naval Con struc tion  Regiment

OIC, Logistics Cell One

Al Taqqadum ,  Iraq.