T Nation

Soldier's Christmas Poem

They are artists of torture,
They are artists of pain and fatigue,
They are artists of insults
and humiliation.
Where is the world to save us
from torture?
Where is the world to save us
from the fire and sadness?
Where is the world to save
the hunger strikers?

Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif

(The military won�??t let you read the rest of Latif�??s poetry.)

The Soldier is My Friend

Dedicated to U. S. Soldiers and Veterans

I have a friend who may not know or ever call my name,
A friend who may not visit, but I thank them just the same.

My friend is called the soldier who’s on duty day and night,
For me to pledge allegiance, they have fought and paid the price.

Where would we be today without the brave hearts who have served,
So we can wave “Old Glory”; so our voices can be heard.

And what would life be like today without the many soldiers,
Who walked into the jaws of death with guns upon their shoulders.

Life would not be as great today, with freedom in our halls,
And we’d live in oppression and great fear would grip us all.

So when you see a soldier you should thank your God above,
For here’s someone who represents the greatest gift of love.

And when you pledge allegiance, you should see a uniform,
Of those who walked through battlefields and weathered many storms.

We cannot take for granted what is takes to pay the price,
And be a U. S. Soldier who has made a sacrifice.

And whether they are fighting on the ground or in the air,
Or sailing on the ocean, we can rest assured they’re there.

Oh what a peace it is for me to hear the sound of jets,
Of flying Air Force pilots who have bravely passed the tests.

And what a happy feeling when a ship pulls into port,
With smiling Navy Sailors who were holding down the fort.

Then what a sense of pride I have to see in my hometown,
A soldier in the Army who is serving on the ground.

And then there are the soldiers who are training on a team,
They’re proud and they’re courageous, the United States Marines.

If you have fought a battle or have lived through several wars,
And freed a camp of prisoners, saved a life or fed the poor.

Or if you’ve volunteered to go to places I’ve not been,
I salute you, U. S. Soldier, National Guard and Veteran friend.

For you have made the difference in America today,
And when I see the stars and stripes, I see a soldiers face.

A fearless face of courage lined with dignity and truth,
A face with battle scars or an enlisted face of youth.

And whether you are young or old, still serving or retired,
I live my life in debt to you who’s walked through many fires.

I sleep in peace at night because you will defend our borders,
To go where you are needed, you will follow any orders.

So thank you, may God bless you and this country you defend,
This land is what it is because the soldier is my friend.

Dear Lord,
As the sun sets on another day, Glowing softly in the west,
Please set a special place aside for our wonderful country’s best.
For the selfless men and women who knowingly give their all…
Who stand guard 'round our banner…and shall never let it fall.
They leave behind both spouse and child to protect and preserve our land,
They leave behind both hearth and home in service great and grand.
They endure heartache and hardship for an occasional word from home,
They endure sharp criticisms, and they often feel alone.
But Lord, please touch their souls tonight, somehow let them know we care,
That we’re standing right behind them, even when they’re “Over There”.
And Lord if they’re wet and cold in the darkness of a wild and rolling sea,
Or sweltering in the desert sands, and waiting patiently…
If they’re soaring through the silver clouds, or standing guard out in the rain,
If they’re laughing, living, loving…or in quiet, heartfelt pain.
Please, Lord tonight embrace them, Soldiers, Sailors one and all,
For they dearly love their country, and they daily give their all
For the young airman away from home, for the first time in his life,
And the officer far away, from his children and his wife.
To the women dressed in olive drab instead of skirts or jeans,
Because when you say “Patriot”…they can tell you what it means.
And Lord, if before this night is through, Heaven’s Gate should open wide,
And a soldier, airman, sailor or marine should step inside,
If he straightens to attention with a clicking of his boot,
And proudly states his presence with a textbook sharp salute,
Embrace him, Lord…and love him…in Your great and perfect way
For he was one of the best, dear Lord…the Pride of the USA.

Mommy, who brings Santa presents?"
(it was his hundredth question of the day)
His little face gazed up solemnly;
She was at a loss for words to say.

She hugged him tight and smoothed his blanket
and thought of Santa and all that flying
�??round a world caught up in tragedy,
a world at risk �?? so many dying.

Yet this unselfish five year old
with Christmas starlight in his eyes
had to think and wonder who
would give Santa his own surprise.

Then carefully she chose her words
so he would understand
how the scope of Santa�??s trip
�??cross each and every land.

“Your Daddy and men like him, son,
give Santa gifts this night
each time he leaves the North Pole,
they help him plan his flight.”

"They tell him when it�??s safe to fly
so he�??ll come to no harm
from our Okinawan high rise
to the smallest German farm.�??

�??In camouflage they guard him
from every dune to each oasis �??
in deserts torn apart by war,
bringing gifts to hiding places.�??

�??Helicopters are his mountain escort,
protecting him at such a price!
So Afghani boys and girls like you
Will have candy, toys and even rice.�??

�??When he flies over seas and oceans
ships and carriers light his way
while submarines listen in on sonar �??
none will let him go astray.�??

�??Men like Daddy guard the White House too,
as they watch our flag fly free,
then map out a route past the �??No Fly Zone�??
towards Grandma�??s in Albany.�??

�??He whispers his thanks to those standing guard
in Arlington, this dark lonely eve;
bows his head in respect for those who have died,
asking comfort for those who grieve.�??

�??He�??ll stop off quick at Quantico,
and Parris Island too,
they�??ll refill his pack with toys there,
for kids not as lucky as you.�??

At Camp Pendleton he�??ll land the sleigh �??
For the reindeer need to rest
And even Santa needs to eat and drink
(they�??ve left cookies and milk in the mess.)�??

�??So you see sweetheart, he does get gifts
all through our Christmas Eve night.
He�??s safe, he�??s guided, protected and loved
Throughout his worldwide flight.�??

�??Men like Daddy give him the same gifts
they bestow on the world each day.
All gifts can�??t be wrapped up in ribbons and bows,
can you see what I�??m trying to say?�??

and we can stay calm and serene.
He belongs to the world, but especially us �??
You see, Santa was once a Marine.�??

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.
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 far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind
A sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, so dark and dreary,
I knew I had found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
I 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.
His face so gentle, his room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.
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 'round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of soldiers 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 started to cry.
The soldier awakened and 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 and 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 I covered this Soldier from his toes to his head.

And I put on his T-shirt of gray and black,
With an eagle and an Army patch embroidered on back.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
And for a shining moment, I was United States Army deep inside.
I didn’t want to leave him on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, whispered with a voice so clean and pure,
“Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all is secure.”
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night!

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day