Note: This post is a BizzyBlog Christmas Eve morning tradition.
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 wintry 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 it 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 faith weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some 20 years old.
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and he smiled,
Standing watch over me and 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 the warm fire’s light.
Then he sighed and he said, “It’s really all right.”
“I’m out here by choice, I’m here every night,
It’s my duty to stand in 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 then day in December.
Then sighed, “That’s a Christmas gra’m always remembers.”
“My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam.
And now it’s my turn. And so here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while.
But my wife send me pictures. He’s sure got her smile.”
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white and blue, the American flag.
“I can live through the cold and 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 your rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch no matter how long.”
“And 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.”
Since the founding of our country, brave soldiers have always left their homes and families to fight and to protect the freedom that we enjoy.
All too many have willingly given their very lives to ensure that their families and their posterity will be able to enjoy peace and prosperity.
Wherever our soldiers have fought, they have established freedom. No lands were conquered, no people subjugated. After every conflict, each soldier quietly returned home, leaving behind only freedom in place of the conflict which cost so many of their lives.
Wherever there is freedom, it has always won by the shedding of blood.
Can we at home do any less than fight for our freedom? Can we stand idly by as our Constitution is being trampled on by those who seek power over us?
We owe it to our Founding Fathers to stand up, take notice, and take action. We must ensure that our rights and freedom are preserved for future generations.
To arms, to arms! The war cry sounds again. Now is the time for each of us to do our part.
It is time for a new generation to rise, to recognize the gifts of freedom, and to fight for freedom now at home.