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Cream Puff

Special 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 a winter 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,
    Perhaps a Marine, huddled here 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 “Its 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, and 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,” he said, “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.”

    PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people
    as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S
    service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities.
    Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people
    stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for
    us.

    LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
    30th Naval Construction Regiment
    OIC, Logistics Cell One
    Al Taqqadum, Iraq