‘Twas the night before Christmas,
and he lived in a crowd.
In a 40-man tent, with warriors so loud,
I had come into the tent with presents to give,
and to see who in this rack did live.
I looked all about, and a strange sight I did see.
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stockings were hung, just boots close at hand,
and on the locker hung a picture of a far distant land.
He had medals and badges and awards of all kinds.
A sobering thought came into my mind,
for this place was different,
it was so dark and dreary;
I had found the home of a Soldier, and this I could see clearly.
The Soldier lay sleeping, silent and alone,
curled up in his rack, dreaming of home.
The face was so gentle, the barracks in such good order,
but not how I pictured a United States Soldier.
Was this the hero whom I saw on TV?
Defending his country so we all could be free?
I realized the families that I’ve seen this night,
owed their lives to these Soldiers who were willing to fight.
Soon round the world, the children would play,
and grownups would celebrate a new Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year
because of the Soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help but wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The Soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, for this life is my choice.”
“Defend my country this day, the peace do I keep.”
The Soldier then rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it – I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours so silent, so still,
and we both shivered from the night’s cold chill.
I didn’t want to leave on that cold, dark night,
to leave this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the Soldier rolled over and with a voice soft and pure,
whispered, “Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas … All is secure.
– traditional, adapted