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December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve...

SWWBO and I are off to spend Christmas with the Old Vet and his Lady, as well as the Armorer-Sister and her family. We may or may not check in much. The Old Vet has not yet discovered the joys of cable modemry and wireless.

Bill - if you notice the Christmas Posts aren't posted, publish 'em, wouldja?

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THE SANDS OF CHRISTMAS

by Michael Marks

I had no Christmas spirit when I breathed a weary sigh,
And looked across the table where the bills were piled too high.

The laundry wasn't finished and the car I had to fix,
My stocks were down another point, the Chargers lost by six.

And so with only minutes till my son got home from school
I gave up on the drudgery and grabbed a wooden stool.

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SC 5048. Christmas dinner of enlisted men at Valdahon, 1917.


The burdens that I carried were about all I could take,
And so I flipped the TV on to catch a little break.

I came upon a desert scene in shades of tan and rust,
No snowflakes hung upon the wind, just clouds of swirling dust.

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SC 163532. A 1942 Santa arriving by tank instead of outdated sleigh. Sgt. Hiram Prouty playing Santa for British children. Dec 5, 1942. Perham Downs, England. M.3. Tank of 1st Tank Group. Sgt. Prouty, member of 175th Inf.


And where the reindeer should have stood before a laden sleigh,
Eight Humvees ran a column right behind an M1A.

A group of boys walked past the tank, not one was past his teens
Their eyes were hard as polished flint, their faces drawn and lean.

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SC 196443-S. Pfc. Edmund Dill opens the Christmas package received from his wife. His buddies share the treat. Left, Pfc. Carl Anker; Right, Sergt. Ted Bailey. ETO, 11/18/44


They walked the street in armor with their rifles shouldered tight,
Their dearest wish for Christmas, just to have a silent night.

Other soldiers gathered, hunkered down against the wind,
To share a scrap of mail and dreams of going home again,

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SC 262132. 25 Dec 1944. Sgt. Edward F. Good feeds his buddy a leg of Christmas turkey, Pfc. Lloyd Deming. Both are casualties at the 2nd Field Hosp, (San Jose, Mindoro, PI)


There wasn't much at all to put their lonely hearts at ease,
They had no Christmas turkey, just a pack of MREs.

They didn't have a garland or a stocking I could see,
They didn't need an ornament--they lacked a Christmas tree.

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SC 197242. Seated at a box in a storehouse for artillery shells, in Germany, Pvt. Walter E. Prsybyla, member of the 2nd Infantry Division, addresses Christmas cards to the folks back home. 11/30/44. B Btry, 37th FA, 2nd Inf. Div., FUSA, Heckhalenfeld, Germany.


They didn't have a present even though it was tradition,
The only boxes I could see were labeled "ammunition."

I felt a little tug and found my son now by my side,
He asked me what it was I feared, and why it was I
cried.

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SC 387038. Men of Co "F", 9th Inf Regt, 2nd U.S. Inf Div, enjoy their Christmas Day dinner at CO HQS, Korea. 25 December 1951.


I swept him up into my arms and held him oh so near
And kissed him on the forehead as I whispered in his ear.

"There's nothing wrong, my little son, for safe we sleep tonight
Our heroes stand on foreign land to give us all the right,

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CC 73569. Vietnam…The Army Band plays Christmas music at the Tan Son Nhut Airbase during the holiday season. 22-29 Dec 1970.


To worry on the things in life that mean nothing at all,
Instead of wondering if we will be the next to fall."

He looked at me as children do and said, "It's always right,
To thank the ones who help us and perhaps that we should write."

And so we pushed aside the bills and sat to draft a note,
To thank the many far from home and this is what we wrote:

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"God bless you all and keep you safe and speed your way back home.
Remember that we love you so, and that you're not alone.

The gift you give you share with all, a present every day,
You give the gift of liberty and that we can't repay."


Michael Marks: "I freely submit this poem for reprint without reservation--this is an open and grateful tribute to the men and women who serve every day to keep our nation safe." Ergo, used with permission!

And we would be remiss if we were to neglect our Canadian Brothers-in-Arms, who serve alongside us in Afghanistan and do stand in harms way.

Be Safe, everybody. And God Bless You, Each and Every One! Especially you Atheists, who can't mind...! But especially the Denizen/nes, to whom we may add a few officially for the New Year. Whether they want to be associated with us or not...

And may there be none of this, today and tomorrow.