Twas the Night Before Christmas (For All Who Have Served)

Twas the night before Christmas,
he lived all alone,
in a one bedroom home made of plaster and stone.

I had come down the chiminey with presents to give 
and to see just whom in this house did live. 
I looked all about, a strange sight did I see. 
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree. 

No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand. 
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land, 
with medals and badges, awards of all kinds, 
a sober thought came to mind.

For this house was different, it was dark and dreary. 
I had found the home of a soldier, once I could see. 
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone, 
curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.

The face was so gentle, the room in 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 enjoyed freedom each month of the year, 
because of the soldiers, like the one lying here. 
I couldn't 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 is the life of 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, and continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still, 
and we both shivered from the cold winter'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, whispered with a voice soft and pure,
"Carry on Santa, It's Christmas day and all is secure."

One look at my watch and I knew he was right, 

"Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!"