Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Different Christmas Poem

ATT00017

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."


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
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

18 comments:

Renee said...

I pray for everyone to be safe and for there never to be a need for people to live and die away from there families. I pray for this the world over.

Love Renee xoxo

Angie Muresan said...

Such true words, Deborah. I wish that everyone would get along. Kind of a childish wish, but so it is. Praying for all the brave men and women laying down their lives for us. God bless them, and God help us remember that when they are done with their fighting and come back, we must continue to support them and not forget the risks they took for us. Hugs to you!

Ces said...

Oh my God! Oh my God! Yes, I am writing it out, not the OMG that I use in merriment but Oh my God in all seriousness. This poem made me shudder and already my office so frigid and the grayness outside made this all more real. Why we have peace at Christmas is possible because those of us who hate wars, despise guns and all the khumbaya shenanigans that we espouse, although we need those too sometimes, is because of the sacrifice of young men and women soldiers. You are absolutely right. No one forced them (yet) to enlist. They do so from their own hearts and some of us are so quick to despise, undervalue, denounce the military but never asking who will keep the peace and protect the world from evil despots? Humans are both capable of god and evil, let us not be fooled. Just read about what is happening to my birth country right now with warlords reigning over innocent people they massacre without mercy.

So THANK YOU to the men and women in the US military. They saved my country from the cruel Japanese who invaded without provocation; they rescued my father from the firing squad and my mother and brother and sister from being massacred and bayoneted.

Sometimes we have to wage war to keep the peace; it’s a conundrum but that's the way it is until the human race actualizes true altruism which it will not – only elephants are true altruists

So thank you; because of the soldier I can sing peace and love in John Lennon’s tune; I can read the words and teachings of the Dalai lama in peace and contentment; I can read about the acts that made Sister Theresa a candidate for sainthood; and listen to the pronouncement and denouncements of antimilitary establishment whose very freedom to protest and express their opinions is borne by the target of their protests.

Peace, love and a cup of hot cider, tea or coffee – something to keep me warm.

In My Sepia Studio said...

Well, Ces pretty much said it all :)

My prayers are with the soldiers. Most of the men in my family/extended family has served at one point ar another and support is what they need the most!!

Cori G. said...

Deb, that was absolutely Beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. I am so thankful for the men and women who serve and keep the dream alive of what America stands for...I believe that without them and their sacrifice this country would no longer represent what our founding Fathers created. A place of safety and freedom and a place to worship God as He chooses to be worshiped.
Thank you from the bottom of my wee little heart for raising a boy who grew into a man those chose to honor our way of life and liberty. It is such a privileged to know that there is one who shares your heart who is watching over us.
love, your sisterfriend Cori

Carolyn said...

What can i say - but wow ! Very touching , moving and emotional !! Written from the heart - i give thanks for all those who fight and serve their country , when i`ve said before a thankyou doesn`t seem good enough to express it .

So glad you loved the card ♥
(muah)
Kiss back ;o)
xoxo

Ces said...

Oh Deborah, my dearest! I thought of you all morning. First this and thinking of those young men and women out there who just want to serve their country (minus the terrorists from within). First this and then I went to our division Christmas party. We were set to make merry instead we started it with a heartfelt tribute to the son on of one our own, a 25 year old corporal in the army, got married last year, expecting a baby in May 2010, his child will never be able to hold his hand; he died in Afghanistan from an IED, I hate that murderous acronym, he was on his second deployment. Our CIO gave a beautiful dedication and reminded us that our freedom is not free, someone pays for it and that someone is usually a young man or waman who wears the uniform and gives the ultimate sacrifice.

Yes we have a campaign at work to send letters and gift packages to the servicemen but I did not know about sending to the families they left or leave behind. Ih I have goosebumps. Tomorrow when SPC Ryan comes home, please, please give him a special hug and a kiss in the cheek and a Thank You. Please tell him it's from me.

Sonia ;) said...

Bless you dear DEB for your huge heart and soul. Bless all the divisions of military fighting for our freedom. Bless your Christmas with your son and daughter and DH....Bless you Deb your a great friend..

xoxoxoxoxo

Manon Doyle said...

Yes Deborah..... Ces said it all! My prayers are for all the men and women who fight for our freedoms!! I'm so happy Ryan will be with you and your family this Christmas.

my love to you all
manon
xo

Cass @ That Old House said...

I can't stop the tears, and I have no adequate words. So true. God bless them all, they are so dear to so many.
Cass

sherry ♥ lee said...

All I can say is "amen". And bow my head.

Bella Sinclair said...

Oh my goodness, Deborah. Such an incredibly moving poem and post. There is nothing I can add to Ces's words before me. I give thanks to all our servicemen and women, not only for Christmas, but for every single day.

kj said...

i too give thanks to all who serve and i pray there will come a time when such a deep and abiding sacrifice will no longer be needed. i know history does not bear my prayer out, but i pray anyway.

this is a beautiful poem, deb, but i have to admit the photo disturbed me. it made me very very sad.

xoxo

Sophia said...

What a beautifully written poem. Oh my gosh, if that doesn't tug at someone's heart! Thank you for this post. It was a great reminder of those who are still across seas fighting for our freedom, risking their own lives, and not able to be with their loving families.

LDWatkins said...

Very moving and dear. I pray for our service people, peace,our leaders, and our country each night.Sometimes it's hard to wrap my mind around how many are out there..so I think of one and how many are affected by the absence of that one..awesome. Thank your dear son again for us!

Renee said...

What would I do without reading your prayers everyday. I don't know what I would do without them.

Your boy is home today. Yahoo.

xoxoxo

One Womans Thoughts said...

I found you through your comment on "Circling My Head" (posting of Bats blog). I was touched and brought to tears on your caring, giving and comforting nature. All that and I had yet to visit your bolg. I am moved by your kind heart and have begun to work my way through your posts one at a time.

Katharina

Diana Evans said...

oh my heavens Deborah!!! you brought tears to my eyes!!! you are one of the most amazing people ...you always touch our hearts with your thoughts and your caring spirit!!! bless your heart!!!

Hugs
Diana