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 who in this home did live. As I looked all around, a strange sight did I 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 far distant lands. With medals and badges, awards of all kinds, a sobering thought soon came to my mind. For this house was different, unlike any I'd see.. this was the home of a Marine. I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more, so I walked down the hall, pushed open a door. 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 Marine. Was this the hero, of whom I had 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 on this 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 a bright Christmas Day. They all enjoyed freedom, each month and each 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 bought a tear to my eye, I dropped to my knees and 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 back to sleep, I couldn't control it, I started to weep. I watched him for hours, so silent and still. I noticed he shivered from the 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, Our Troops! and goodnight.