Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noël! Srećan Božić / Срећан Божић

Merry Christmas to everyone who follows this blog as well as the regular readers and many visitors who stumble in here from a Google or Duck Duck Go search.  Thank you for coming by.

I also want to wish a special Merry Christmas to the Legionnaires, Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors out there guarding our civilization, as sentinels, from the barbarians of the world.  You are always in our thoughts and prayers of this veteran’s family.  Also, this year I particularly want to say thank you and God Bless You to our Police, Firemen and other Emergency Responders.  Thank you for what you do–you are never taken for granted and Monlegionnaire supports Law Enforcement 100%.

Here is something I enjoy reading each Christmas time.  It pops up frequently on social media this time of year.  A bit corny but it illustrates a good point that we should always remember those who are away from their families during Christmas and understand the sacrifices they endure to secure our way of life.

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.”

About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
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6 Responses to Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noël! Srećan Božić / Срећан Божић

  1. jofigaro says:

    CARRY ON MONSIEUR WAGNER,THIS WATCH STANDS AYE. LEGIONNAIRE DEUXIEME CLASSE, JOE FIGARO MALTESTA USMC

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marvin says:

    Merry Christmas!

    Marvin

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eugene Olivier says:

    Thanks for the poem Jack. (My kind of poetry).
    Might I point to a ballad by Tim Clancy called AND THE BAND PLAYED WALTZING MATILDA. Find it on Google.pf you don’t know about it.
    Not the WALTZING MATILDA we know. Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong etc.
    BTW do you know what the swagman’s name was? Answer at end of e-mail.
    I only came across it about a month ago. Never heard it before. Clancy’s been around for a long time (part of the Irish group THE CLANCY BROTHERS. Saw them perform in London in 1965.
    It will move you I bet. You’ll know all about Galipoli. It brought tears to my eyes.
    Answer : Andy. And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled…….
    Christmas greetings to you and yours.
    AND A big thank-you for the blog throughout the year. IT HAS BEEN LIKE A Christmas PRESENT EVERY MONTH. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Like

    • Jack Wagner says:

      Eugene,

      Good to hear from you and Merry Christmas to you and your family. I discovered this song many years ago (I’m a huge fan of Irish/Celtic music) and agree it is one of the more haunting and poignant songs of veterans ever written and remember as I was listening to it that it was like watching a video. I believe Eric Bogle is the original artist and you can see his rendition here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnFzCmAyOp8

      Thanks for reminding me…it will be in my head for several days now…

      Now when I was a young man, I carried my pack.
      And I lived the free life of a rover
      From the Murray’s green basin
      To the dusty outback,
      I waltzed my matilda all over.
      Then in nineteen fifteen, my country said son
      It’s time to stop rambling,
      There’s work to be done.
      So they gave me a tin hat,
      And they gave me a gun,
      And they sent me away to the war.

      And the band played Waltzing Matilda,
      As the ship pulled away from the Quay
      And amidst all the tears,
      Flagwaving and cheers
      We sailed off for Gallipoli

      Well I remember that terrible day
      When our blood stained the sand and the water
      And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
      We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
      Johnny Turk he was ready
      Oh he primed himself well.
      He rained us with bullets,
      And he showered us with shells.
      And in five minutes flat,
      We were all blown to hell
      Nearly blew us back home to Australia.

      And the band played Waltzing Matilda,
      When we stopped to bury our slain.
      And we buried ours and the Turks buried theirs,
      And it started all over again.

      Those who were living,
      Just tried to survive
      In that mad world of blood, death and fire
      And for ten weary weeks,
      I kept myself alive,
      While around me the corpses piled higher
      Then a big Turkish shell,
      Knocked me arse over head
      And when I awoke in my hospital bed,
      And saw what it had done,
      Then I wished I was dead.
      I never knew there were worse things than dying.

      For no more I’ll go Waltzing Matilda,
      All around the green bush far and near
      For to hump tent and pegs
      A man needs both legs
      No more Waltzing Matilda for me.

      They collected the wounded
      The crippled, the maimed,
      And they shipped us back home to Australia.
      The armless, the legless
      The blind, the insane.
      Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
      And when the ship pulled into Circular Quay
      I looked at the place where me legs used to be.
      And thanked Christ there was no one there waiting for me
      To grieve and to mourn and to pity.

      And the band played Waltzing Matilda,
      As they carried us down the gangway.
      But nobody cheered,
      They just stood there and stared,
      Then they turned all their faces away

      So now every April,
      I sit on my porch,
      And I watch the parade pass before me.
      I see my old comrades,
      How proudly they march.
      Renewing their dreams of past glories
      I see the old men, all tired, stiff and sore
      The weary old heroes of a forgotten war
      And the young people ask,
      What are they marching for?
      And I ask myself the same question.

      And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
      And the old men still answer the call
      But as year follows year,
      More old men disappear
      Someday no one will march there at all.

      Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
      Who’ll come a waltzing matilda with me?
      And their ghosts may be heard
      As they march by the billabong
      Who’ll come a-waltzing matilda with me…

      Like

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