A soldier’s Christmas

Letter to the Editor.

This message was sent to me around Christmas while on tour in

Bosnia. Please print it to remind us all of the service members who will not be able

to be home for the holidays.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,

In a one-room hut made of plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney, with presents to give,

And to see who in this home there did live.

I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,

No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stocking by the mantel, just bags filled with sand.

On the wall hung the maps of a far-distant land.

With computers and radios and guns of all kinds,

A sobering thought came to my mind.

For this house was different, it was dark, it was dreary.

‘Twas the house of a soldier, that I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,

Curled up on the floor of this cold, lonely home.

The face it looked hard, but the room in such order,

Just how one would picture a United States soldier.

Was this a hero? Someone had said,

Curled up on a poncho, cold floor for a bed.

I realized the families I saw on this night,

Owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.

Soon ’round the world the children would play,

And grown-ups would celebrate a bright Christmas Day.

They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,

Because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lie alone,

On a cold Christmas Eve, so far from their home.

That very thought brought a tear to my eye.

I dropped down 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 my freedom, who could ask for more?

My life is my family, my country, my force.”

The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep.

I couldn’t control it, I started to weep.

I kept watch for hours, so silent, so still,

Until we both shivered from the cold winter’s chill.

I hated to leave, on that dark, cold night,

This guardian of honor, so willing to fight.

The soldier rolled over with a voice clear and pure

And said, “Carry on, Santa, this night is secure.”

One look at my watch and I knew he was right.

Merry Christmas, my friend, my thanks and goodnight.

Robert Venters,

sergeant first class,

U.S. Army

Fall City