Merry Christmas, My Marine, My Friend





Merry Christmas, My Marine

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone
In a one-bedroom house made of plaster & stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see.
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
And on the wall hung pictures of a far-distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
A sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them; I had to see more.
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene.
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I'd just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night
Owed their lives to these men who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
Because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone
On a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for 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."

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep.
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
And covered this Marine from his toes to his head.

Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold
With an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
And for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
Said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."

One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

Copyright 1987 James M. Schmidt (USMC)
--- Submitted by Frank Edmond --- British Columbia, Canada
--- Author's name provided by SSgt Thomas Draffen - USMC
(12/07/04)


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