Letter to the Editor

Reader provides Christmas poem

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Editor's Note: Local resident Rita Rothrock found this poem in her late husband's army papers. Her husband served in World War II under Gen. George S. Patton.

Warrior and Santa

The Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone

In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney with presents to give,

And to see just who in this home did live.

I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,

No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stocking by the mantle, just boots filled with sand,

On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.

With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,

A sober thought came through my mind.

For this house was different, it was dark and dreary,

I found the house of a soldier, once I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping, silent, along,

Curled up on the floor in this bedroom home.

The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,

Not how I pictured a United States soldier.

Was this the hero of whom I just read?

Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?

I realized the families I saw on 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 bright, Christmas day.

They all enjoyed the freedom each month of the year,

Because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.

I couldn't help 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, this life is my choice.

I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more,

My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep,

I couldn't control it, I started to weep.

I kept watch for hours, so silent and still

And we both shivered from the cold night's chill.

I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark night,

This Guardian of Honor so willing to fight.

The soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,

Whispered, "Carry on, Santa,

It's Christmas Day, all is secure."

One look at my watch and I knew he was right

Merry Christmas, my friend, and to all a Good Night.

Author Unknown