Note: I received this from our battalion CSM, who received it from a close friend who lost her husband, the SSG referred to at the end, in Iraq last year.
I wanted to share this with all of you.
A couple of days before Thanksgiving a group of Marines came to our home to ask if they could help in any way - clean the gutters, winterize my car or the house - I thought to myself - about two weeks late but isn't that nice. I never did figure out how they got my name and address but its public record so I didn't question it.
They were very sweet to remember an Army family and I asked them to come in and have something to drink. We talked and got to know each other. Come to find out that the Marines not only take care of their own but any Gold Star Families in the area. They thought that Jorshua was away at college and wanted to make sure that I would be alright.
I was humbled by their generosity and thoughtfulness - these kids could be my sons and here they were making sure that the family of a Fallen Comrade (their words) was being taken care of. They thanked us for the food and drink and promised to check in on me again periodically. We exchanged email addressed and this is what I got...
It's a great day to be an American no matter what the service!
A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS POEM
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 awinter 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, huddled there 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, "It's 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, 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, and 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.
WE ALL NEED TO PRAY FOR OUR
MILITARY PERSONNEL EVERY NIGHT!
Proud wife of SSG Melo
Final PCS 21 Dec 2004,
Last Mission:Guarding Freedom
New Mission: Guarding Heaven