Merry Christmas, My Friend


6548561225_2a9e9119b5_z“Merry Christmas, My Friend” by LCpl James M Schmidt, USMC, 1986

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,

In a one bedroom house made of plaster & 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.

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