A Different Kind of Christmas Poem
Remembering once again who we owe
It seems that everytime I see or hear President Bush talk about the justifications about the War he started in the Middle East, and the sacrifice of our brave young men & women in uniform are making... while he and his like are livin' large and safe because of them...well, I just get moved to do or say something that I just might regret, so I hold my tongue, and stay my hand.
Published on LatinoLA: December 14, 2005
But then, there are things I will do and say that I won't regret...so here it comes.
Recently, while out performing the annual ritual of Christmas shopping, I saw a couple of young men in U.S. military uniforms, proudly walking amongst us civilians at a local mall. On their chests, I noticed combat ribbons. Walking along side of them, I noticed proud friends and family members...and the pride was ever so evident.
These 2 young men couldn't have been more than 19 or 20, I thought, but their eyes looked much older than that...I could see that. What sadness were they masking, I thought?
As I passed them, I greeted them, and gave them the brother Veteran's salute: "..Welcome back, man...and thanks, Bro!" Their eyes lit up and they smiled back. One of them said, "Thank you, sir. You're one of the few stangers to tell me that...you must be a Vet, too."
I was touched by his almost innocence. I could also see the admiring glances of others as they passed. Right on, I thought. Somebody else besides another Vet appreciates these guys, not knowing what horrors they must have faced at such a young age.
....at another age, at another time...that was me. Just not so appreciated. I remembered a poem a friend and brother Vet had sent me recently, and I was moved to share it with you.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF CHRISTMAS POEM:
The embers glowed softly, and in the 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's delight.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
I slumbered...perhaps 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 sounds 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 in the dark of night,
a lone figure stood tall, his face weary and tight.
A Soldier, I thought, some twenty years old,
perhaps a Marine, standing there, out in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
...he was standing watch over me, my wife, and my child.
"What are you doing?", I asked without fear,
"Come inside for a moment, it's freezing out here!"
"Put down your weapon and pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
you should be at home with your family...it's Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment, I saw his eyes shift,
away from the cold and snow, blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light,
he sighed and proudly said,
"...it's OK, I'm alright"
"I'm out here by choice,
and I'm out here every night."
"It's my duty to stand here, at the front lines,
that separate you from the darkest of times"
"My Gramps died at 'Pearl, on a day in December,
...that's a Christmas my Grandma will always remember"
"My Dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam,
and now it's my turn...so here I am"
"I've not seen my son in more than a while,
but my wife sends me pictures...he sure has her smile!"
Then he bent, and carefully pulled from his bag,
the Red, White, and Blue...an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and being alone,
away from my family, my friends, and my home"
"I will stand my post through the rain and sleet,
and 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"
"We stand together at the front lines, against any and all,
...to insure for all time this flag will NEVER fall!"
He smiled and told me "So go back inside, and harbor no fright,
your family is safe, warm, and waiting,
...and I'll be alright"
I pleaded "But isn't there something that I can do in the least,
give you some money, or prepare you a feast?
It seems all to little, for all you have done,
for being far away from your wife, home , and son"
He again smiled, and his eyes welled with tears that held NO regret,
"Just tell us you love us...and never forget,
to fight for our rights back home while we're gone,
to stand your own watch, no matter how long"
"...for when we come home, either standing or dead,
we need to know you remembered...
..that we fought, and we bled"
"It's payment enough...and with that we will trust,
that we mattered to you...a you mattered to us!"
He proudly turned, and walked into the cold Christmas night,
to resume his duty, of preserving his Country's might.
Asking for nothing as he walked into the chilled air,
"God bless all of you..." was my earnest prayer.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!
Frankie firme's website: www.frankiefirme.50mmegs.com