THE SOLDIERS NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
By Major Bruce W. Lovely

T'was 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.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind
A sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, so dark and dreary,
I knew I had found the home of a soldier, one I could see clearly.

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

His face so gentle, his room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.
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 'round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on a bright Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of soldiers 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 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."

With that he rolled over and 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 I covered this Soldier from his toes to his head.
And I put on his T-shirt of gray and black.
With an eagle and an Army patch embroidered on back.

And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
And for a shining moment, I was United States Army inside.
I didn't want to leave him on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over, whispered with a voice so pure,
"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.

Editor's note:

Merry Christmas to all the soldiers in far off lands,
And a very special salute to all who have fought,
And perished, to protect our freedom and liberty.
Plus a special Christmas wish to keep our soldier safe in Iraq.
Merry Christmas & God Bless you Josh.

LEWIS & CLARK EXPEDITION 200 YEARS AGO TODAY 11/28/1804

Chief Black Cat visits Fort Mandan to tell the captains that the British traders are giving away their nation's medals and flags. The captains warn him against accepting such items, saying it would displease the "Great American Father." Lewis and Clark give the Chief presents that include an American flag, tobbacco, paint and handkerchiefs. Black Chief states that he will proudly display his American flag during visits from the British traders.
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