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. As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see. No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree. No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand. On the wall hung pictures, of a far distant land. With medals and badges, awards of all kind. A sobering thought soon came to my mind. For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen. This was the home of a U.S. Marine. I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more. So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door. And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone. Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home. He seemed so gentle, his face so serene. Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine. Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read? Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed? His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan. I soon understood, this was more than a man. For I realized the families, that I saw that night. Owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight. Soon around the Nation, the children would play. And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day. They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year. Because of Marines like this one lying here. I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone. On a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home. Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye. I dropped to my knees and I started to cry. He must have awoken, for 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. With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep. I couldn't control it, I continued to weep. I watched him for hours, so silent and still. I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill. So I took off my jacket, the one made of red. And covered this Marine from his toes to his head. Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold. With an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold. And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride. And for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside. I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night. This guardian of honor, so willing to fight. But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure. Said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure." One look at my watch and I knew he was right. Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.