Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Soldier's Silent Night

I heard this on the radio yesterday; what I think was the first time and it made me cry. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. I loved it so much I had to find out more.

'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, net even a tree.
No stocking by 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, it was dark and dreary,I found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,not how I pictured a United States Soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I'd just read?Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realized 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 grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone,on a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
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.
"The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep,I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and stil land we both shivered from the cold night's chill.
I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark night,this guardian of honor so willing to fight.The the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,whispered, "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.

Typing these words here and reading them as I make adjustments to the formating I cry. It is so wonderful. We owe these men and woman of the armed forces respect for their brave and unselfish service to our country.

The poem's author, James M. Schmidt, was a Lance Corporal stationed in Washington, D.C., when he wrote the poem back in 1986. In Corporal Schmidt's own words (December, 2002):
"The true story is that while a Lance Corporal serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, Washington, D.C., under Commandant P.X. Kelly and Battalion Commander D.J. Myers (in 1986), I wrote this poem to hang on the door of the gym in the BEQ. When Colonel Myers came upon it, he read it and immediately had copies sent to each department at the Barracks and promptly dismissed the entire Battalion early for Christmas leave. The poem was placed that day in the Marine Corps Gazette, distributed worldwide and later submitted to Leatherneck Magazine."

It was read by and recorded
The Story Behind The Recording of
"A Soldier's Silent Night"
Father Ted Berndt was a priest at Bread of Life Charismatic Episcopal Church in Dousman, Wisconsin, a proud Marine and a WWII Purple Heart recipient and my Dad.
We recorded "A Soldier's Silent Night" two years ago in one take, since Dad was a former radio guy in the '40's. Our project received a national A.I.R. (Achievement in Radio) award from the March of Dimes and was played on radio stations across the United States. This year, radio listeners are hearing our project in Ohio, Chicago, West Palm Beach, Florida, Detroit, Dallas and the Fox Valley in Wisconsin; as well as in Milwaukee!

Please visit this site to actually hear the recording the spoken word by this Father is heart touching.