Keeping Watch At Christmas




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 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
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
"Its 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 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 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."




Let's stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment OIC, Logistics Cell One Al Taqqadum, Iraq













 

 






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