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73 ‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived in a crowd, In a 40-man berthing, with shipmates so loud. I’d come down the exhaust stack with presents to give, And to see just who in this rack did live. I looked all about, a strange sight did I see, No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree. No stockings were hung, just boot close at hand, On the bulkhead hung pictures of far distant land. He had medals and badges and awards of all kind, And a sobering thought came into my mind. For this place was different, it was so dark and dreary, I had found the house of a sailor, once I could see clearly. The sailor lay sleeping, silent and alone, Curled up in his rack, dreaming of home. The face was so gentle, the berthing in such good order, Not how I pictured a United States sailor. Was this the hero whom I saw on TV? Defending his country so we all could be free? I realized the families that I've seen this night, Owed their lives to these sailors who were willing to fight. Soon ‘round the world, the children would play, And grownups would celebrate a new Christmas Day. They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year, Because of the sailor, like the one lying here. I couldn't help but 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 rough voice, "Santa, don't cry, for this life is my choice: Defend the seas this day, so others may rejoice." 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, And we both 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. Then the sailor rolled over and with a voice soft and pure, whispered, "Carry on Santa, it's Christmas Day, All is secure." - Unknown A Sailor’s Christmas


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