Monday, December 8, 2008

The soldiers' night before Christmas

*For those of you who are elementary teachers and mommies this is an actual children's book, written by Trish Holland and Christine Ford, illustrated by John Manders*

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the base
Only sentries were stirring - they guarded the place.

At the foot of each bunk sat a helmet and boot
For the Santa of Soldiers to fill up with loot.
The soldiers were sleeping and snoring away

As they dreamed of "back home" on good Christmas day.
One snoozed with his rifle - he seemed so content.
I slept with the letters my family had sent

When outside the tent there arose such a clatter.
I sprang from my rack to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Poked out my head, and yelled, "What was that crash?"

When what to my thrill and relief should appear,
But one of our Blackhawks to give the all clear.
More rattles and rumbles! I heard a deep Whine!

Then up drove eight Humvees, a jeep close behind...
Each vehicle painted a bright Christmas green,
With more lights and gold tinsel than I'd ever seen.

The convoy commander leaped down and he paused.
I knew then and there it was Sergeant McClaus!
More rapid than rockets, his drivers they came
When he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

"Now, Cohen! Mendoza! Woslowski! McCord!
Now, Li! Watts! Donetti! And Specialist Ford!"

"Go fill up my sea bags with gifts large and small!
Now Dash away! Dash away! Dash away, all!"
In the blink of an eye, to their trucks the troops darted.
The engines did flutter, they sputtered, then started.

The armored moved out - it was "Duty or bust."
McClaus disappeared in all of the dust!

As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Through the tent flap the sergeant came in with a bound.
He was dressed all in camo and looked quite a sight
With a Santa hat added for this special night.

His eyes - sharp as lasers! He stood six feet six.
His nose was quite crooked, his jaw hard as bricks!
A stub of cigar he held clamped in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.

A young driver walked in with a seabag in tow.
McClaus took the bag, told the driver to go.
Then the sarge went to work. And his mission today?
Bring Christmas from home to the troops far away!

Tasty gifts from old friends in the helmets he laid.
There were candies, and cookies, and cakes, all homemade.
Many parents sent phone cards so soldiers could hear
Treasured voices and laughter of those they held dear.

Loving husbands and wives had mailed photos galore
Of weddings and birthdays and first steps and more.
And for each soldier's boot, like a warm, happy hug,
There was art from the children at home sweet and snug.

As he finished the job - did I see a twinkle?
Was that a small smile or instead just a wrinkle?
To the top of his brow he raised up his hand
And gave a salute that made me feel grand.

I gasped in surprise when, his face all aglow,
He gave a huge grin and a big HO! HO! HO!

HO! HO! HO! from the barracks and then from the base.
HO! HO! HO! as the convoy sped up into space.
As the camp radar lost him, I heard this faint call:

"Happy Christmas brave soldiers! May peace come to all!"

5 comments:

Tango1

I've never heard that one before, but I will definitely be printing it out for our "christmas wall." Thanks!

J.L.S.

I haven't heard this one yet! Thanks for sharing! I heard a different christmas/soldier related story on the radio the other day. I'll try to find it and post it (I meant to find it when I heard it, but had forgotten until I saw this!)

S.Lovely

That is really cute! Thanks for sharing it with all of us :)

Casey

One of my students bought that books for me the year my husband joined the military. It is so cute! I get tears every time!

New Girl on Post

I hadn't heard that one yet, thanks for sharing it though. I'll have to file that away somewhere.