Reposted from poetreecreations
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,
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 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..
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
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 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 is 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 will 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 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.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”
LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq
Author: LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN, 20th Naval Construction Regiment
Reposted from God is my Spinach
The LORD Almighty has sworn,
“Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
and as I have purposed, so it will happen.
Today is a famous day described as a day of Infamy. It is one of the most famous days in the history of war. There are a lot of famous battles described in our history books, David and Goliath, Troy, Gettysburg…and more. I need to wonder and ask why. Most wars since WWII have been un-Godly nobody wins situations that do not seem to resolve anything. In fact, after the treaties are signed there has been as much tension as before and does not make a lot of sense to me.
So where is God in all of this? What would Jesus do? How come both sides can think God is with them? These are great questions and I am not even going to try to answer them. I will refer them to Abraham Lincoln as he analyzed God’s presence in war.
In Abraham Lincoln: A History by Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln is quoted: “The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purposes of either party—and yet the human instrumentalities working just as they do, are of the best adaption to effect His purpose…God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. …He could give final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.”
Today we need to remember Pearl Harbor, a day in infamy. We also need to pray for an end to all conflicts and terrorist acts, we need to contemplate world peace.
T’was the night before Christmas,
He lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house,
Made of Plaster ad Stone
I had come down the chimney,
With Presents to give,
And to see just who,
In this home did live.
I looked all about,
A strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents
Not even a tree.
No stocking by the mantel,
Just boots filed with sand,
On the wall hung pictures,
of far distant lands.
With medals and badges,
Awards of all kinds,
A sober thought,
Came through my mind,
For this house was different,
It was dark and dreary,
I found the home of a soldier,
Once I could see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping,
Curled up on the floor,
In this one bedroom home.
His face was so gentle,
The room in disorder,
Not how I pictured
A true American Soldier.
Was this the hero,
Of whom I’d just read?
Curled up on a poncho,
The floor for a bed?
I realized the families,
That I saw this night,
Owed their lives to this Soldier,
Who was willing to fight.
Soon round the world,
The children would play,
And grownups would celebrate,
A bright Christmas day.
They all enjoy freedom,
Each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers,
Like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help but wonder,
How many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas eve,
In a land far from home.
The very thought,
Brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees,
And started to cry.
The soldier awakened,
And 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…”
The soldier rolled over,
And drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it,
I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours,
So silent and still,
And we both shivered,
From the cold night’s chill.
I did not want to leave,
On that cold, dark night,
This guardian of honor,
So willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over,
With a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, “Carry on Santa,
It’s Christmas Day, all is secure.”
One look at my watch,
And I knew he was right.
“Merry Christmas my friend,
And to all a good night.”
This poem was written by a Peacekeeping soldier stationed overseas. The following is his request. I think it is reasonable.
PLEASE. Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to all of the service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us. Please, do your small part to plant this small seed.
Reposted from Sunny Skyz
Michigan high school students are redefining the term “extracurricular activity.”
In addition to club meetings, band practices and football games, University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy teens are also signing up to serve as pallbearers for homeless veterans.
Six students recently volunteered to be pallbearers for three dead homeless veterans.
Senior Joshua Gonzales is one of the student leaders who helped develop the program. He said this new opportunity for students is “meant to help dignify and respect the human being.”
The students’ initial plan was to carry the caskets for homeless individuals, said the Rev. Karl Kiser, the school president. But after working with local funeral home A.J. Desmond & Sons, the students narrowed their focus to the largest group of homeless people in need of the pallbearing service: unclaimed veterans.
More than 50 students attended the first training session at the beginning of the month, a number that surprised funeral director Kevin Desmond, who said he expected no more than 20.
“It tells a lot about their character, how they care for other people without those there for them,” Desmond said.
Pope Francis’ recent visit to Philadelphia acted as motivation for Junior Noah Tylutki.
“I thought that being a pallbearer for forgotten veterans was a great way to be a witness to Pope Francis’ message,” Tylutki said.
The idea began two years ago when Director of Service Todd Wilson took a group of students to St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, where a similar program is in place.
Initially, the idea didn’t take off, Wilson said. “We wanted the students to want to do it. Interest was renewed and a group of student leaders worked over the summer to develop a training program as a pallbearer.”
A second training session for students interested in the pallbearer program is expected to be offered in November, according to Wilson.
The soldier stood and faced his God,
Which must always come to pass;
He hoped his shoes were shining bright,
Just as brightly as his brass.
“Step forward now, soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you turned the other cheek?
To my church have you been true?”
The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
“No, Lord, I guess I ain’t;
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can’t always be a saint.
I’ve had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was rough;
I’ve had to break your rules my Lord,
Because the world is awfully tough.
But, I never took a thing
That wasn’t mine to keep;
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear;
And sometimes … God forgive me,
I’ve wept unmanly tears.
I know I don’t deserve a place
Among the people here;
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.
If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,
It needn’t be so grand;
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don’t, I’ll understand.”
There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints often trod;
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
“Step forward now, soldier,
You’ve borne your burdens well;
Come walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets,
You’ve done your time in HELL!”
~ Author: Sgt.Joshua Helterbran ~
Reposted from God’s Little Acre
Charles Plumb, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was a jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!” “How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb. “I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning,’ ‘how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachute.