'Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom home made only of stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give.
And to see just who in this house 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 covered in sand,
On the wall hung a picture of some far off land.
With medals and badges and awards of all kind,
A sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen,
For 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 opened a door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Could this be the hero of whom I'd just read?
Curled up in a poncho, a floor for his bed.His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan,
I soon realized this was more than just any man.
I realized the families I'd visit this night,
Owed their lives to these people always ready to fight.
In just a few hours all the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate another Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month and all year,
Because of Marines like this one lying here.
I couldn't help but wonder how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve, in a land so far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
He must have awakened for I heard a rough voice,
"Don't cry Santa, for this 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 so still,
Then noticed he shivered from the cold nights chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
And covered my hero, from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
With eagle, globe and anchor, emblazoned so bold.
Although it barely fit me, I swelled with pride,
For this one private moment, I felt Marine deep inside.
I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
This guardian of honor, willing to die in a fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, in a voice clean and pure.
Said "Carry on Santa, it's Christmas Day and all is secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi, and good night.

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