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J.Smith

A measure of respect for my fellow shipmates

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A Sailor's Night Before Christmas

Author Unknown

Twas the night before Christmas,

the ship was out steaming,

Sailors stood watch

while others were dreaming.

They lived in a crowd

with racks tight and small,

In a 40-man berthing,

cramped one and all.

I had come down the stack

with presents to give,

And to see inside

just who might perhaps live.

I looked all about,

a strange sight did I see,

No tinsel, no presents,

not even a tree.

No stockings were hung,

shined boots close at hand,

On the bulkhead hung pictures

of a far distant land.

They had medals and badges

and awards of all kind,

And a sober thought

came into my mind.

For this place was different,

so dark and so dreary,

I had found the house of a Sailor,

once I saw clearly.

A Sailor lay sleeping,

silent and alone,

Curled up in a rack

and dreaming of home.

The face was so gentle,

the room squared away,

This was the United States Sailor today.

This was the hero

I saw on TV,

Defending our country

so we could be free.

I realized the families

that I would visit this night,

Owed their lives to these Sailors

lay willing to fight.

Soon round the world,

the children would play,

And grownups would celebrate

on Christmas Day.

They all enjoyed freedom

each day of the year,

Because of the Sailor,

like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder

how many lay alone,

On a cold Christmas Eve on a sea,

far from home.

The very thought

brought a tear to my eye,

I dropped to my knees

and started to cry.

The Sailor awakened

and I heard a calm voice,

"Santa, don't cry,

this life is my choice."

"Defending the seas

all days of the year,

So others may live

and be free with no fear."

I thought for a moment,

what a difficult road,

To live a life guided

by honor and code.

After all it's Christmas Eve

and the ship's underway!

But freedom isn't free

and it's sailors who pay.

The Sailor say's to our country

"be free and sleep tight,

No harm will come,

not on my watch and not on this night.

The Sailor rolled over

and drifted to sleep,

I couldn't control it,

I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours,

so silent, so still,

I watched as the Sailor

shivered from the night's cold chill.

I didn't want to leave

on that cold dark night,

This guardian of honor

so willing to fight.

The Sailor rolled over

and with a voice strong and sure,

Commanded, "Carry on Santa,

It's Christmas, and All is Secure!"

Honor, Courage and Commitment

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