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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 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 still
and 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.

Then 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."



I am the flag of the United States of America.
My name is Old Glory.
I fly atop the world's tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America's halls of justice.
I fly majestically over institutions of learning.
I stand guard with power in the world.
Look up and see me.

I stand for peace, honor, truth and justice.
I stand for freedom.
I am confident.
I am arrogant.
I am proud.

When I am flown with my fellow banners,
My head is a little higher,
My colors a little truer.

I bow to no one!
I am recognized all over the world.
I am worshipped - I am saluted.
I am loved - I am revered.
I am respected - and I am feared.

I have fought in every battle
of every war for more then 200 years.

I was flown at Valley Forge,
Gettysburg, Shiloh and Appamatox.
I was there at San Juan Hill,
the trenches of France,
in the Argonne Forest,
Anzio, Rome and the beaches of Normandy.

Guam, Okinawa, Korea and
KheSan, Saigon, Vietnam know me.
I was there.
I led my troops, I was dirty, battleworn and tired,
But my soldiers cheered me and I was proud.

I have been burned, torn and trampled on the
streets of countries I have helped set free.
It does not hurt for I am invincible.
I have been soiled upon, burned, torn and
trampled in the streets of my country.
And when it's done by those
Whom I've served in battle - it hurts.
But I shall overcome - for I am strong.

I have slipped the bonds of Earth
and stood watch over the uncharted
frontiers of space from my vantage point on the moon.
I have borne silent witness to all of America's finest hours.

But my finest hours are yet to come.

When I am torn into strips and used as bandages
for my wounded comrades on the battlefield,
When I am flown at half-mast to honor my soldier,
Or when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving parent
at the grave of their fallen son or daughter,

I am proud.

My Name is Old Glory
by Howard Schnauber
1994 the author


Just A Common Soldier
(A Soldier Died Today)
by A. Lawrence Vaincourt

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

And tho' sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won't note his passing, though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician's stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

It's so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor while he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.

" 1985 A. Lawrence Vaincourt" http://www.vaincourt.homestead.com/Common_Soldier.html



The Soldier

A protest raged on a courthouse lawn,
Round a makeshift stage they charged on,
Fifteen hundred or more they say,
Had come to burn a Flag that day.

A boy held up the folded Flag,
Cursed it, and called it a dirty rag.
An old man pushed through the angry crowd,
With a rusty shotgun shouldered proud.

His uniform jacket was old and tight,
He had polished each button, shiny and bright.
He crossed that stage with a soldier's grace,
Until he and the boy stood face to face.

"Freedom of speech", the old man said,
"Is worth dying for, good men are dead,
So you can stand on this courthouse lawn,
And talk us down from dusk to dawn,
But before any Flag gets burned today,
This old man is going to have his say!

My father died on a foreign shore,
In a war they said would end all wars.
But Tommy and I wasn't even full grown,
Before we fought in a war of our own.
And Tommy died on Iwo Jima's beach,
In the shadow of a hill he couldn't quite reach
Where five good men raised this Flag so high,
That the whole world could see it fly.

I got this bum leg that I still drag,
Fighting for this same old Flag.
Now there's but one shot in this old gun,
So now it's time to decide which one,
Which one of you will follow our lead,
To stand and die for what you believe?
For as sure as there is a rising sun,
You'll burn in hell 'fore this Flag burns, son.

Now this riot never came to pass
The crowd got quiet and that can of gas,
Got set aside as they walked away
To talk about what they had heard this day.
And the boy who had called it a "dirty rag",
Handed the old soldier the folded Flag.

So the battle of the Flag this day was won
By a tired old soldier with a rusty gun,
Who for one last time, had to show to some,
This flag may fade, yet these colors don't run!



It is the soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the soldier,
who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.


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