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December 25, 2005


Merry Christmas, kids!

And it really *is* Christmas Day right now, even for FbL and Barb and Sarge B. I figure *one* of us has to stay honest with the post dates--uhhh, even if it usually *isn't* me...

I've always associated Christmas with sharing things. Care package cookies, letters from kids addressed to Any Soldier, pictures of futuristic helicopters done entirely in brown crayon--you know, the *neat* stuff that doesn't come from a store, but from the heart. And I shared, because I knew that whatever I gave would come back to me, maybe in a different form, but it would always come back.

V29 received this present and he decided to share it with me. It's the kind of present that needs to be shared...

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,
Why here, I wondered, huddled there 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, "It's 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, 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, and 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…”



Proud wife of SSG Melo
Final PCS 21 Dec 2004,
Last Mission: Guarding Freedom
New Mission: Guarding Heaven

SSG Julian S. Melo was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, part of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division stationed at Fort Lewis, WA. He and twelve of his friends were killed in Mosul, Iraq, on 21 December, 2004. They'd been there about six weeks.

No dance today, though--their song has long since been played and even the echoes are gone and the thirteen have travelled the Hard Road. And a Lady who was left behind put aside her grief when the time for grieving was past and, just a short while ago, she shared...

So, if you get some quiet time today or tonight, say a prayer for those now in harm's way. Make a wish for their safe return. Share the wish with God, if you are a believer, or launch it on the wings of Hope if you aren't.

And channel comfort to all those left behind.

I have to go, now. Somebody's outside...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lex's sister passed this morning. Fuzzibear Lioness has the link. Stop in and leave him a note...

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