Small Town Veteran

Baby boomer, nerdy kid, Viet Nam veteran, engineer, daddy, grandpa.
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2004.12.14

THE SANDS OF CHRISTMAS             

I had no Christmas spirit when I breathed a weary sigh,
and looked across the table where the bills were piled too high.
The laundry wasn’t finished and the car I had to fix,
My stocks were down another point, the Dolphins lost by six.

And so with only minutes till my son got home from school
I gave up on the drudgery and grabbed a wooden stool.
The burdens that I carried were about all I could take,
and so I flipped the TV on to catch a little break.

I came upon a desert scene in shades of tan and rust,
No snowflakes hung upon the wind, just clouds of swirling dust.
And where the reindeer should have stood before a laden sleigh,
eight hummers ran a column right behind an M1A.

A group of boys walked past the tank, not one was past his teens,
Their eyes were hard as polished flint, their faces drawn and lean.
They walked the street in armor with their rifles shouldered tight,
their dearest wish for Christmas, just to have a silent night.

Other soldiers gathered, hunkered down against the wind,
To share a scrap of mail and dreams of going home again.
There wasn’t much at all to put their lonely hearts at ease,
They had no Christmas turkey, just a pack of MREs.

They didn’t have a garland or a stocking I could see,
They didn’t need an ornament-- they lacked a Christmas Tree.
They didn’t have a present even though it was tradition,
the only boxes I could see were labeled “ammunition.”

I felt a little tug and found my son now by my side,
He asked me what it was I feared, and why it was I cried.
I swept him up into my arms and held him oh so near
and kissed him on the forehead as I whispered in his ear.

There’s nothing wrong my little son, for safe we sleep tonight,
our heroes stand on foreign land to give us all the right,
to worry on the things in life that mean nothing at all,
instead of wondering if we will be the next to fall.

He looked at me as children do and said its always right,
to thank the ones who help us and perhaps that we should write.
And so we pushed aside the bills and sat to draft a note,
to thank the many far from home, and this is what we wrote,

God bless you all and keep you safe, and speed your way back home.
Remember that we love you so, and that you’re not alone.
The gift you give you share with all, a present every day,
You give the gift of liberty and that we can’t repay.

©Copyright December 2003 by Michael Marks

Author’s Notes:

Christmas tugs at the heart more so than any other time of the year and in 2003 I found myself watching the news and reflecting on the young men and women facing a very different Christmas than those we knew here at home. Once again, I wrote with the hope of sharing how much America appreciates the service that keeps us safe, and how much we pray for the safe homecoming of all who serve

I affirm that I am the author and that I freely submit this poem for reprint without reservation-- this is an open and grateful tribute to the men and women who serve every day to keep our nation safe. -- Michael Marks

Please, this year as you enjoy the holiday season, will you pause and remember our debt to our Warriors past and present, and remember them in your prayers?

A tip of the hat to my friend and fellow Battle of Kontum vet William "1stCav" Page for emailing me this. I was curious about the title, which had apparently been lost as the poem was mailed from friend to friend around the web, and about whether the author had provided any background information when it was first published, so I searched Google for the original.  The version I've posted above is posted here in the International War Veterans' Poetry Archives. I copied the author's comments from there and from  this page at Jack's Joint

Posted by Bill Faith on December 14, 2004 at 04:25 AM in Christmas, Poetry, The American Warrior | Permalink


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» The Sands of Christmas from Mudville Gazette
I'll be posting various Military Christmas poems found on the internet during the next couple weeks. here's one to start. The Sands of Christmas I had no Christmas spirit when I breathed a weary sigh, and looked across the table... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 15, 2004 9:32:40 AM

» The Sands of Christmas from Mudville Gazette
I'll be posting various Military Christmas poems found on the internet during the next couple weeks. here's one to start. The Sands of Christmas I had no Christmas spirit when I breathed a weary sigh, and looked across the table... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 15, 2004 9:34:17 AM

» MilBlogs: from Mudville Gazette
THE POST EXCHANGE: I've asked my fellow MilBloggers to submit "notable posts" they've written in the recent past for inclusion here, with a quick summary in their own words. I've taken the liberty of linking to some of their... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 15, 2004 11:08:32 AM

» MilBlogs Home from Mudville Gazette
THE POST EXCHANGE: I've asked my fellow MilBloggers to submit "notable posts" they've written in the recent past for inclusion here, with a quick summary in their own words. I've taken the liberty of linking to some of their... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 24, 2004 4:19:31 PM

» MilBlogs Home from Mudville Gazette
THE POST EXCHANGE: I've asked my fellow MilBloggers to submit "notable posts" they've written in the recent past for inclusion here, with a quick summary in their own words. I've taken the liberty of linking to some of their... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 24, 2004 4:23:33 PM

» MilBlogs Archive - Dec, 04' from Mudville Gazette
12/25/04 All Mrs G wants for Christmas... ...is a soldier coming home. For those troops that are reading blogs to get closer to home, our thoughts and prayers are with you. We love and miss you. Merry Christmas, Keep Safe,... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 3, 2005 8:35:43 AM

» MilBlogs Home from Mudville Gazette
THE POST EXCHANGE: I've asked my fellow MilBloggers to submit "notable posts" they've written in the recent past for inclusion here, with a quick summary in their own words. I've taken the liberty of linking to some of their... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 3, 2005 8:47:41 AM

» MilBlogs Archive - Dec, 04' from Mudville Gazette
12/25/04 All Mrs G wants for Christmas... ...is a soldier coming home. For those troops that are reading blogs to get closer to home, our thoughts and prayers are with you. We love and miss you. Merry Christmas, Keep Safe,... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 3, 2005 8:52:13 AM

» MilBlogs Archive - Dec, 04' from Mudville Gazette
12/25/04 All Mrs G wants for Christmas... ...is a soldier coming home. For those troops that are reading blogs to get closer to home, our thoughts and prayers are with you. We love and miss you. Merry Christmas, Keep Safe,... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 3, 2005 8:54:44 AM

» MilBlogs Home from Mudville Gazette
THE POST EXCHANGE: I've asked my fellow MilBloggers to submit "notable posts" they've written in the recent past for inclusion here, with a quick summary in their own words. I've taken the liberty of linking to some of their... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 3, 2005 10:01:28 AM

» MilBlogs Home from Mudville Gazette
THE POST EXCHANGE: I've asked my fellow MilBloggers to submit "notable posts" they've written in the recent past for inclusion here, with a quick summary in their own words. I've taken the liberty of linking to some of their... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 3, 2005 10:05:51 AM



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