A Sailor's Night Before Christmas
(Author Unknown)

Twas the night before Christmas,
and the ship was out steaming.
Sailors stood watch
while others were dreaming.

They lived in a crowd
with racks tight and small,
In a 40-man berthing,
cramped one and all.

I had come down the stack
with presents to give,
And to see inside
just who might perhaps live.

I looked all about,
a strange sight did I see,
No tinsel, no presents,
not even a tree.

No stockings were hung,
shined boots close at hand,
On the bulkhead hung pictures
of a far distant land.

They had medals and badges
and awards of all kind,
And a sober thought
came into my mind.

For this place was different,
so dark and so dreary,
I had found the house of Sailors,
once I saw clearly.

A Sailor lay sleeping,
silent and alone,
Curled up in a rack
and dreaming of home.

The face was so gentle,
the room squared away,
This was the United States Sailor serving today.

This was the hero
I saw on TV,
Defending our country
so we could be free.

I realized the families
that I would visit this night,
Owed their lives to these Sailors
lay willing to fight.

Soon round the world,
the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate
on Christmas Day.

They all enjoyed freedom
each day of the year,
Because of the Sailor,
like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder
how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve on a sea,
far from home.

The very thought
brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees
and started to cry.

The Sailor awakened
and I heard a calm voice,
"Santa, don't cry,
this life is my choice."

"Defending the seas
all days of the year,
So others may live
and be free with no fear."

I thought for a moment,
what a difficult road,
To live a life guided
by honor and code.

After all it's Christmas Eve
and the ship's underway!
But freedom isn't free
and it's sailors who pay.

The Sailor say's to our country
"be free and sleep tight,
No harm will come,
not on my watch and not on this night.

The Sailor rolled over
and drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it,
I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours,
so silent, so still,
I watched as the Sailor
shivered from the night's cold chill.

I didn't want to leave
on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor
so willing to fight.

The Sailor rolled over
and with a voice strong and sure,
Commanded, "Carry on Santa,
It's Christmas, and All is Secure!"