The original poem was written by a Corporal Schmidt, a US Marine Corps sniper, in 1986. Since then it has been adapted by people of many nations world wide to credit their servicemen and womens willingness to sacrifice themselves to protect their countrys freedom.
Here is an Australian adaptation of Corporal Schmidts poem :
MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND
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.
I looked all about a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents not even a tree.
No stockings by the mantle, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures, of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
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 clearly see.
There he lay sleeping, silent alone,
Curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
His face was so gentle his room in disorder,
Not how I pictured a true Aussie soldier.
Was this the hero of whom Id just read?
Curled up in his poncho, the floor for his bed?
I realised the families that I saw this night,
Owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.
Soon round the world the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldnt 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 dont cry, this life is my choice.
I fight for freedom, I dont ask for more,
My life is my God, my country, my corps”
Then the soldier rolled over and returned to his sleep,
I couldnt control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still,
Awed by his commitment, dedication and will.
I did not want to leave, on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honour so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, whispered with a voice so clean and pure:
“Carry on Santa, its Christmas Day, all is secure.
Merry Christmas my friend!