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December 2005
   -Technically Speaking
   -Let's Take a PEEK at PEAC-WMD v.5
   -News and Events
   -Just What the Doctor Ordered
   -Wonderful Wyoming
   -Seriously Speaking

Seriously Speaking - December 2005  


During the holidays is a time that we all enjoy fellowship with friends and loved ones.  This is especially the time of the year that we need to think and pray for our military both at home and abroad and their families.  This poem refers to the U.S. Marines, but it is equally as applicable to all of our troops.

 

A SOLDIER’S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,

In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney, with presents to give

And to see just who in this home did live.

 

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,

No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.

On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

 

With medal and badges, awards of all kind,

A sobering thought soon came to my mind.

For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.

This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

 

I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more,

So I waked down the hall and pushed open the door.

And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,

Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

 

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,

Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.

Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?

Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

 

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan. 

I soon understood, this was more than a man.

For I realized the families that I saw that night,

Owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

 

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,

And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.

They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,

Because of Marines like this one lying here.

 

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,

On a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.

Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.

I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

 

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,

“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice

I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.

My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

 

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,

I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.

 

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.

I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.

So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,

And covered this Marine from his toes to his head.

 

Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,

With an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.

And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride.

And for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

 

I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,

This guardian of honor so willing to fight.

But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,

Said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, alls secure.”

 

One look at my watch and I knew he was right,

Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

 

 

 

WEB SITE ANNOUNCED

 

You don’t have to look too far to know of someone deployed overseas, perhaps a member of your own family, or the family of a co-worker or friend.  Let’s not forget them this holiday season.  After 9/11 the Department of Defense has placed a moratorium on mail addressed to “Any Service Member.”  In the past, this was a way for people to share their thoughts with and give support to our men and women in the service.  These letter-writing campaigns have always been a morale booster, however recent mail-related attacks have resulted in additional precautions and the safety of service members is paramount.  The DoD has setup a website to support our military personnel, just click on www.emailourmilitary.com and share your thoughts and support to our men and women abroad.

 

 

 

THE SILENT RANKS

 

I wear no uniforms, no blues or Army greens.

But I am in the military in the ranks rarely seen.

I have no rank upon my shoulders.  Salutes I do not give.

But the military world is the place where I live.

 

I’m not in the chain of command, orders I do not get.

But my husband is the one who does, this I cannot forget.

I’m not the one who fires the weapon, who puts my life on the line.

But my job is just as tough.  I’m the one that’s left behind.

 

My husband is a patriot, a brave and prideful man

And the call to serve his country not all can understand.

Behind the lines I see the things needed to keep this country free.

My husband makes the sacrifice, but so do our kids and me.

 

I love the man I married.  Soldiering is his life.

But I stand among the silent ranks known as the Military Wife.

 

 

 

THE TRUE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS – “THE TOOTHLESS GRIN”

 

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, this story is one that demonstrates the simple goodness that should be a part of all our lives, wherever we live and whatever faith we observe.

 

I was doing some last minute Christmas shopping in a toy store and decided to look at Barbie dolls for my nieces.  A nicely dressed little girl was excitedly looking through the Barbie dolls as well, with a roll of money clamped tightly in her little hand.  When she came upon a Barbie she liked, she would turn and ask her father if she had enough money to buy it.

 

He usually said “yes,” but she would keep looking and keep going through their ritual of “do I have enough?”  As she was looking, a little boy wandered in across the aisle and started sorting through the Pokemon toys.  He was dressed neatly, but in clothes that were obviously rather worn, and wearing a jacket that was probably a couple of sizes too small.  He too had money in his hand, but it looked to be no more than five dollars or so at the most.  He was with his father as well, and kept picking up the Pokemon video toys.  Each time he picked one up and looked at his father, his father shook his head, “No.”

 

The little girl had apparently chosen her Barbie, a beautifully dressed, glamorous doll that would have been the envy of every little girl on the block.  However, she had stopped and was watching the interchange between the little boy and his father.  Rather dejectedly, the boy had given up on the video games and chosen what looked like a book of stickers instead.  He and his father then started walking through another aisle of the store.

 

The little girl put her Barbie back on the shelf, and ran over to the Pokemon games.  After speaking with her father, she excitedly picked up one that was lying on top of the other toys, and raced toward the checkout.  I picked up my purchase and got in line behind them.  Then, much to the little girl’s obvious delight, the little boy and his father got in line behind me.

 

After the toy was paid for and bagged, the little girl handed it back to the cashier and whispered something in her ear.  The cashier smiled and put the package under the counter.

 

I paid for my purchases and was rearranging things in my purse when the little boy came up to the cashier.  The cashier rang up his purchases and then said, “Congratulations, you are my hundredth customer today, and you win a prize!” with that, she handed the little boy the Pokemon game, and he could only stare in disbelief.  It was, he said, exactly what he had wanted!

 

The little girl and her father had been standing at the doorway during all of this, and I saw the biggest, prettiest, toothless grin on that little girl that I have ever seen in my life.  Then they walked out the door, and I followed close behind them.  As I walked back to my car in amazement over what I had just witnessed, I heard the father ask his daughter why she had done that.  I’ll never forget what she said to him.

 

“Daddy, didn’t Nana and PawPaw want me to buy something that would make me happy?”

 

He said, “Of course they did, honey.”

 

With that, she giggled and started skipping toward their car.  Her toothless grin said it all Apparently, she had decided on the answer to her own question of, “Do I have enough?”

 

I feel very privileged to have witnessed the true spirit of Christmas in that toy store, in the form of a little girl who understands more about the reason for the season than most adults I know!

 

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