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“Merry Christmas, My Friend” by LCpl James M Schmidt, USMC, 1986

 Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,

In a one bedroom house made of plaster & 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 medals 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 walked 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, all secure."

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

Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

PLEASE. Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as may people
as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and we should all be aware of
where credit for our being able to celebrate these festivities is due.
Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people
stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.
Please, do your small part to plant this small seed

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This was sumitted by:

Jenny Culver



"A Soldier's Christmas"! The actual song and all background information can be found at http://www.asoldiersilentnight.com. How do I know this:)? The song is the result of a collaboration between my sister, Ellen Stout, and our late father, Father Ted Berndt. In 2003, Ellen was a radio personality at WLTQ here in Milwaukee, WI. During the holiday season that year, she had received a copy of the poem by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt from a listener. She shared it with Dad. Together, with Dad narrating and Ellen producing, they created the song we hear each Christmas season.

Dad was 81 years old at the time; a WWII Marine Corps veteran, a Charismatic Episcopal Priest and battling pancreatic cancer. He lost his battle just 3 months after recording the song. All he ever wanted to do was, in his words, "touch lives and make a difference." Before he passed, he felt he had:)
You can hear the song, download a copy and even "meet" Father Ted at http://www.asoldiersilentnight.com. I say "meet" because I've included video of Dad's final interview with a local TV station where he relayed why this project meant so much to him.


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Belleau Wood

Oh, the snowflakes fell in silence
over Belleau Wood that night
For a Christmas truce had been declared

By both sides of the fight
As we lay there in our trenches
The silence broke in two
By a German soldier singing
A song that we all knew

Though I did not know the language
The song was "Silent Night"
Then I heard my buddy whisper,
"All is calm and all is bright"
Then the fear and doubt surrounded me
"Cause I'd die if I was wrong
But I stood up in my trench And

I began to sing along

Then across the frozen battlefield
Anothers voice joined in
Until one by one each man became
A singer of the hymn

Then I thought that I was dreaming
For right there in my sight
Stood the German soldier
'Neath the falling flakes of white
And he raised his hand and smiled at me
As if he seemed to say
Here's hoping we both live
To see us find a better way

Then the devil's clock struck midnight
And the skies lit up again
And the battlefield where heaven stood
Was blown to hell again

But for just one fleeting moment
The answer seemed so clear
Heaven's not beyond the clouds
It's just beyond the fear

No, heaven's not beyond the clouds
It's for us to find it here

The CD is: Sevens
The cut is: Belleau Wood
The Authors are : Joe Henry and Garth Brooks Copyright 1997

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The Corpsman's Christmas Poem

"'Twas the night before Christmas as I flew o'er the Marine Base,
when I spied a young man who seemed out of place.
His eyes showed compassion, his hair a bit long,
but his head was held high and his body was strong.

His air was confident, his uniform smart,
but what impressed me most was the size of his heart.
For he embodied honor, one of this country's best,
and the words U.S. NAVY showed large on his chest.

As I stood there in wonder and gazed into his eyes,
the words that he spoke took me quite by surprise.
"What's wrong Santa, haven't you ever seen a sailor before?"
I sensed something special and longed to know more.

"To be honest, this field thing wasn't part of my plan,
but God didn't give me a boat or tin can."
The words he spoke next surprised me all the more,
"But I'm as proud of my Navy as I am of the Corps!"

"Don't worry Santa, that I'm a sailor you see,
for when a Marine goes down they will still call on me.
They'll forget I'm a sailor, they'll call in my stock.
At the top of their lungs they'll yell ,"Get me the doc!"

"And I'll answer that call, anytime, anywhere.
Though I know I'm a target I really don't care.
I'll face incoming fire as I race cross the land,
and use my very own body to shield a downed man."

"Working long hours and into the night,
my unit's battle is over, but I'm just starting to fight.
For the life of every Marine is sacred to me.
I refuse to surrender them to death, and in that I'll find victory."

"And yet I'll take the time to comfort a dying man,
to sit down by his side, to reach out and hold his hand.
For it takes as much courage to care as to fight.
For just as the poem says, many don't "go gently into that night."

"Santa, it's not any one uniform that makes you a man,
but rather it's those ideals for which you choose to stand.
I draw my line here, it's long and it's plain.
For pain, hurt and suffering are the things I disdain."

I know very well that I may lose my life,
so that a Marine may see an unmet child and young wife.
So Santa, it really doesn't matter if they don't like my hair.
I'm a Navy Corpsman, their Doc, and I'll always be there."

"I follow the brave docs who have come long before,
from Belleau Wood, Iwo, and Lebanon's shore.
As history proudly shows, they all gave their best,
and for those who have died, surely they're blessed."

"At Inchon, the gulf and times during Tet,
our brothers have fallen, but we carry on yet.
For we carry their honor and legacy still."
As I held back my tears it took all of my will.

I had to leave him there for I had other plans,
but I knew in my heart that the Corps is in good hands.
As I flew away I heard his laughter, it rang so loud and clear.
"Hey Santa, how 'bout a nice pair of boots for the 26 miler next year?"

HMC(FMF/SW) Mark Forsberg
2/3 UDP, Okinawa, December 1997

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Young Warriors; Should fate find you on the battlefield, May your cause be a just one. May your courage not falter. May you show mercy to your enemies. May your efforts bring the blessings of peace. May you be triumphant and earn victory. May your sacrifice be always appreciated. May you endure the conflict unharmed. Should you be harmed, May your wounds heal. Should you perish in the struggle, May God embrace you and find a Place for you in his Kingdom.

by : Scott A.Tackett Sr.

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Dear Sir,

I am one of America's soldiers who received a copy of "A Soldier's Christmas" over the internet, and I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for giving some of my friends and family an opportune way to say 'thanks.' It meant a lot to me.

I have not been stationed in the US since 1995, and the nature of my job will keep me overseas throughout my career. Although I am not always viewed as that soldier with "dusty boots," I know all too well what it is like to be away from home for so long -- especially during the holidays.

I would like, however, to take this opportunity to thank you, and America, for being the fine, grand, noble Nation that makes each and every one of us out here serving in the military extremely proud of the country and the people we protect.

You don't necessarily have to pray for us soldiers, as we have chosen this life....and we will sacrifice our life for OUR people and OUR country. No, do not pray for us this holiday season.....Pray for OUR Nation and Her people......for only then will the life we 'chose' be worthwhile.

Yes, I do pray for peace on Earth...always. But, "there will be wars, and rumors of wars," so, in the meantime; maybe, just maybe, this year you can put out a suggestion to OUR American people......

We tend to fly our flag on 4th of July, we tend to fly our flag on Veteran's Day......maybe this year, through your web-site, you could maybe "ask" the American people to put a small American Flag on their Christmas Tree, amongst their ornaments, (or within their own religious ceremony/custom) just to "remember." A small reminder that "we" are free to celebrate whatever holiday, however we please, because of that flag and what She represents.

Sir, I have volunteered to protect ALL Americans....Christian, Jewish, Agnostic, even Atheist......it is my proud honor to do so.... and all I ask is that maybe, during this "holiday" season (whether one believes in it or not) is your help in asking "America" to wave Her flag in Unity and be thankful for our Grand Nation. It would mean a lot to us out here, wherever we are......

"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 and my corps."

and with all due respects to the Major, I add.....

America, my country-men,

Our flag is our life.....

We've accepted your ancestors

Through struggle, through strife...

We've come a long way,

Yes, a long way to go....

But we're out here defending,

The life that you know.

What you believe,

Is not my concern,

I carry my weapon.....

American learns....

I'm proud to serve you,

Wherever I'm sent,

For you are Americans...

From Allah to Lent....

And so my dear county-men,

I ask of you this...

Display Our flag,

And remember our bliss....

For I am out "here"

On this Christmas Day....

And I want you proud...

.......LONG MAY SHE WAVE.....

thank you,


a service member.....

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Backroound By: Joseph Foy 1SG, USA Retired

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