T’WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS Soldier version

He was asleep inside a small shabby house made of plaster and stone. I had come down the chimney with presents to give, and wondered who in this home did live. I looked all about, and a strange sight I did see, no lights, no tinsel, no presents, not even a Christmas tree. No stockings were hung on the mantle, I saw worn out boots caked with sand. On the walls pictures were hung of far distant lands. There were medals, badges, and awards of all kinds.
Then a somber thought raced through my mind.

For this house was different, it was dark and dreary, and I knew I had found the nigh! ’tis resting place for an American soldier, once I could see clearly. He was all alone sleeping on the floor in this small little home. His face was so gentle. But, the room was in disorder – not how I pictured the life of an American soldier. Perhaps, this was this was the hero of whom I’d recently read. He was curled up in a poncho, the floor for a bed. I pondered and thought, realizing the families that I visited this night, owed their lives to the soldiers and sailors like him who so willingly fight. Tomorrow around the world, the children would play, and with their families celebrate a bright Christmas Day. Also, they enjoy freedom each day of the year, because of the soldiers and sailors like the one sleeping here.

I couldn’t help but wonder how many other military personnel were also alone on this Christmas Eve in lands far away from home.

The thoughts brought tears to my eyes. I dropped to my knees and cried. The soldier awakened and gently said, “Santa please don’t cry – this is my choice, I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more, my life is for GOD, my Country, and my Corps.” Then he rolled over and drifted to back to sleep. However, I continued to weep and kept watch for hours trying to be silent and still. At times we both shivered from the cold night’s chill. I didn’t want to leave on this sad dark night, this wonderful guardian of honor so willing to fight. He was all alone and so far from home. But, then he rolled over again, and with his voice soft and pure he whispered, “It’s okay Santa, it’s now Christmas day, and all is secure.” I looked at my watch, and knew he was right. I said, ‘Merry Christmas my friend, and to al! l a good night!'”

A U.S. Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan wrote this. He requested, ‘Please, do me the kind favor of reading this to as many people as you can? Christmas is coming soon and much credit is due to our American military men and women and because of them we are able to celebrate every holiday in freedom and peace. Help others to take time to remember and reflect about the sacrifices of our military personnel. They are our heroes, and their continual sacrifice keeps our great country free and safe.’

So, in turn I am sending this to you to help honor this Marine’s request .
Jenni Balis, U.S. Naval Reservist (Retired)

via DvS

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