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.
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 slumbered I, perhaps I started to dream.
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
Perhaps a Trooper, huddled here in the cold.
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
“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!”
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
Then he sighed and he said, “It’s really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”
That separates you from the darkest of times.
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Father died in Viet Nam on a day in December,”
Then he said,
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 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 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.”