The creator of this beautiful video intially thought the poem was written by LCDR Jeff Giles so the video credits this person for the poem. Later the creator of the video found out the poem was actually written by Michael Marks. So I am posting this correction as I feel this is still the best video presentation of thia military poem I've seen on the net.
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 eye 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, "It’s 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 sisters and brothers
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To insure 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."
Author’s Note: In loving appreciation of the countless Americans who have, and continue to serve in the Armed Forces and those who gave their life for their country. Your sacrifices will never be forgotten. We look forward to the day you come home. God bless and keep you always, and God Bless America.
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze
A young soldier saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many Pilots' planes shot down?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No Freedom isn't free
I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant "Amen"
When a flag had draped a coffin
of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard at the
bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.....
No -- Freedom isn't free!!
We walked among the crosses
Where our fallen soldiers lay.
And listened to the bugle
As TAPS began to play.
The Chaplin led a prayer
We stood with heads bowed low.
And I thought of fallen comrades
I had known so long ago.
They came from every city
Across this fertile land.
That we might live in freedom.
They lie here 'neath the sand.
I felt a little guilty
My sacrifice was small.
I only lost a little time
But these men lost their all.
Now the services are over
For this Memorial Day.
To the names upon these crosses
I just want to say,
Thanks for what you've given
No one could ask for more.
May you rest with God in heaven
From now through evermore.
The, "Merry Christmas, My Friend", was originally written by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt in 1986. It is a take off of the poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas about Santa visiting a soldier. There are many different variations of this military poem floating around. I have provided the version of "Merry Christmas, My Friend" printed in the Leatherneck back in 1991.
Twas 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
As 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 a far distant land.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.
I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.
He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
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 around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines 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 I started to cry.
He must have awoken, for 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, 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 covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.
I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.
1 1/2 cups Patience
1 cup Courage
3/4 cup Tolerance
dash of Adventure
1 pound of Ability
To the above ingredients:
Add 2 tablespoons elbow grease and let stand alone for one year.
Marinate frequently with salty tears. Pour off excess fat and sprinkle ever so lightly with money then Knead dough until payday. Season with international spices. Bake 20 years or until done. Makes unlimited servings
I love my country's pine-clad hills,
Her thousand bright and gushing rills,
Her sunshine and her storms;
Her rough and rugged rocks, that rear
Their hoary heads high in the air
In wild, fantastic forms.
I love her rivers, deep and wide,
Those mighty streams that seaward glide
To seek the ocean's breast;
Her smiling fields, her pleasant vales,
Her shady dells, her flow'ry dales,
The haunts of peaceful rest.
I love her forests, dark and lone,
For there the wild bird's merry tone
I hear from morn till night;
And there are lovelier flowers, I ween,
Than e'er in Eastern lands were seen,
In varied colors bright.
Her forests and her valleys fair,
Her flowers that scent the morning air--
All have their charms for me;
But more I love my country's name,
Those words that echo deathless fame,
"The Land of Liberty."
I wear no uniforms, no blues or greens.
But, I am in the military, in the ranks rarely seen.
I have no rank upon my shoulders. Salutes I do not give.
But in the military world is where I live and am rarely seen.
I am not in the chain of command, orders I do not give or get.
But my husband is the one who does, this I can not forget.
I am not the one who fires a weapon, Who puts his life on the line.
But my job is just as tough, I'm the one who is always left behind.
My husband is a patriot, a brave and pride filled man.
And the call to serve his country not all can understand.
Behind the lines, I see things needed to keep this country free.
My husband makes the sacrifice, but so do my kids and me.
I love the man I married. The military is his life.
So I pledge to support my hero and stand among the silent ranks known as
THE MILITARY WIFE.
The soldiers life is not for all
A soldier must be willing to give his all
He is overworked and underpaid
A truer patriot was never made
Ready to go at any time
Wherever there is trouble or the first sign
His courage and honor are unsurpassed
Ready and willing to complete the task
Travelling to lands both near and far
He stands his post and looks at the stars
Wondering what he might have done If he had not chosen to carry a gun
Remember the next time that you are driving by
And see the flag flying proud and high
That somewhere out there a soldier stands
Weary and cold in a foreign land
Protecting our country from our foes
Standing tall and proud come rain or snow.
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