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The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife 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 and, surrounded by love, I Knew I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, I nodded off and 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, a young paratrooper, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled, standing watch over me, and my wife and child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear, "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here !"
"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.
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right, 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 in France one day in December, that's a Christmas 'Gran always remembers."
"I've not seen my own son in more than a while, My wife sends me pictures - he's got her smile."
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag, red, white and blue - the Union 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 will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "there's no need for fright, your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"Surely there something I can do, at the least, give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
"It seems all too little for all that you've done, for being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret, "Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at 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.
It's payment enough, and with that we will trust, that we mattered to you as you mattered to us.
 

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This wonderful speech gets me every time.
God bless all who serve.
 
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Bre, don't know if you have read other posts, but my brothers came to see me, and one brother brought presents. When we were all together he passed them out...One present he gave m e was a 3x5 UK Merchant Marine flag, the Red Duster, his words: Well I know how this country is about flying flags on homes and I wanted you to compete. It is not hte biggest flag in the world, after all a lot of people in this area have guns. BUT I will fly it and fly it proudly, until I become a US Citizen.
 

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Well said bre346. I wish everyone respected or troops who have given so much for us the same amount. Maybe it is because we have both served this country but the sight of our servicemen and our flag still gives me goosebumps.
 

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Isreal has the right idea with required service. It helps a person to respect and appreciate what we have here to have served. I'm proud of my time served.
 

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Military service developes inner strength and character and moral values in people.
 

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There is no honor greater than service to your country except for the honor paid to those who serve!
 
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