Twas the night before Christmas, and 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 who it was in this plain 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, only boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung some pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought did soon came to my mind.
For this house was so different, unlike any I'd seen.
Yes, 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, so silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.
He seemed far too gentle, his face too serene,
Not how I had pictured a U.S. Marine.
Could this be 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 now understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I'd seen that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.
Soon round the Nation, the children would play,
And parents would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and each year,
because of brave men like the one lying here.
I wondered how many young men lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
The thought of it welled up a tear in my eye.
And I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.
He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
"Please Santa, don't cry, for this life is my choice
I fight for their 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 him up 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 though it barely fit me, I swelled up with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine deep inside.
I didn't want to leave him so quiet that 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! Christmas Day, all secure!"
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas To All, Semper Fi and Good Night.