NOTEThis post has nothing to do with camping – just a simple poem posted in honour of the men and women who protect us selflessly without any expectation of thanks. Please pause after your turkey dinner and think about all the good people who have made great sacrifices this year, so you could be safe and secure this Christmas!
A Canadian Soldier’s Christmas
The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door to see who was near.
Standing in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
A uniformed trooper huddled there in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, my wife and my young child.
What are you doing? I asked without fear,
Come in for a moment, it’s freezing out there,
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on this cold Christmas Eve!
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the head-high snow drift.
To the window that danced with a warm firelight,
Then he sighed and said It’s really all right.”
“I’m out here by choice, and here every night,
It’s my pleasure to guard thee with all of my might,
My honoured duty to stand the front lines,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died in Europe on a day in December,”
Then he sighed A Christmas Gram will always remember.”
“I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.”
Then he bent over and pulled from his bag,
The red and the white a Canadian flag.
I can live through the cold and being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
They stand on the frontline against any and all,
To ensure for all time that our flag will not fall.
So go back inside, he said, harbour no fright,
Your family is secure, I’ll be here all night.
But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money, I asked, or prepare you a feast?”
“It seems too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your dear son.
Then his eyes welled a tear that held no regret,
Just tell us you love us, and never forget.”
“Please fight for our rights, while we are gone,
Please stand your own watch, no matter how long.
When we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled
Is payment enough, and with that I trust,
We mattered to you, as much as you matter to us.”
Freedom and family are gifts worth protecting,
So during this Christmas, be thankful when reflecting.