Before we know it, it will be over.
I'm not sure I will have the time to post again before Tuesday.
I'm not really certain that I have the time now.
But I'm going to, because I feel it necessary to wish all of my online friends a Merry Christmas.
I wish I could invite all of you over for a glass of cheer, and some of Karin's home made raisin stuffed cookies.. (From her grandmother’s recipe). God how I enjoy some traditions!!!
It would be a logistical nightmare to get everyone here, and you wouldn't all fit into our humble abode.
As I mentioned a few posts ago, I'm flying a flag for our troops.
Regardless of etiquette, it is not coming down until our combat troops are out of Iraq.
It serves several purposes, a few of which are, to call attention to the troops. In protest of the mandate restricting them from flying our flag in Iraq. And in support of all they do.
Here it is.
This flag was given to my wife by an elderly woman that she use to clean and do errands for. It was presented to her at her husbands funeral. He was a veteran of WWII, and she had no next of kin to pass it on to.
I hope he would be honored o know the purpose it now serves.
I can't wait until the day I can take it down and bring it to my Legion Post for proper disposal.
For those who may not be aware, most American Legion and VFW posts hold ceremonies a couple of times a year to properly dispose of worn and unseviceable flags. They are more than happy to take your flags for this purpose. In most cases they will send someone to pick your flag up, if you are unable to get to the post.
I have an acquaintance that retired form the Navy a few years back. He and I are members of our local American Legion, and his wife works for
Webber Energy, in the office that I manage. I hate to say that people work for me!! We all work for the company. I just manage the operation. I am blessed with a great group of dedicated individuals to work with..
Anyway, this retired Navy Vet. writes a weekly column for the local newspaper. The Sentinel "Calling All Veterans".
He does a great job of providing information about benefits for local veterans, and passes along stories from vets, and from his own experience in the service.
Well this week he posted a poem that he found a few years back.
He writes that it is much circulated via email on Christmas eve, but I have never seen it.
I was so moved by it that I thought I would share it with you here.
Maybe everyone has already seen it.
I hope someone finds it as touching as I did.
Especially the last paragraph.
It was written in December 2000 by a Michael Marks.
I pass it on, as did my friend, in honor of my son, and all the sons and daughters deployed not only to Iraq, but everywhere on earth,who won't be home for Christmas.
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed around the room and I cherished the sight.
My was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
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 sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out 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,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out hear!
"Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
"You should be at home on a cold Christmas eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts
To the window that danced with a warm fires light
Then he sighed and he said "it's really alright."
"I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
"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 at Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas Gram always remembers,
“My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam’,
“And now it’s my turn and so, here I am.
“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 and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
“I can live through the cold and the 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
“Who stand at the front against any and all,
“To ensure for all time that this flag sill not fall.
“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
“Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
“It seems all to little for all that you’ve done,
“For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye weld a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget
“To fight for our rights back home while we’re gone,
“To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
“For when we come home, either standing or dead,
“To know you remember we fought and we bled
“Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
“That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”
The final verse is what really hits home, and what I’m trying to say by flying the flag 24/7.
Amazingly enough Matt called while I was writing, just as I finished the last verse.
He is fine.
Things have been considerably quieter for the last few days.
Let’s hope it stays that way.
My deepest and most sincere wishes for a calm, quiet Christmas day for all of our troops where ever they may be.
And to all of my friends on line, may you be blessed with all the good that this season brings, and the warmth and comfort of dear friends and family.
God Bless you all.