A Christmas Poem


Lantern Swinger
This poem has made the rounds over the years and has been adapted to suit all members of the Armed Forces in many countries; however, it is appropriate and worthy of posting once again.

Twas the night before Christmas, the boat was steaming,
Some sailors stood watch, while others were dreaming.
They rolled in their tiny racks, tight and small,
In a 30-man bunk space, cramped one and all.

I had come down the hatch with presents in hand,
And peeked inside to see this strange band.
I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stockings were hung, though boots close at hand,
On the bulkhead hung pictures of a far distant land.

They had medals and badges and awards of all kind,
And a sobering thought came into my mind.

For this place was different, so dark and so dreary,
I had found Submariners, at once I saw clearly.
One submariner lay sleeping, silent and alone,
Curled up in a rack and dreaming of home.

The face was so gentle, the bunk squared away,
This was the submariner of today.
This hero I didn't see on TV,
Defending our country deep under the sea.

I realized the people I would visit this night,
Owed their lives to these submariners, willing to fight.
Soon round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on Christmas Day.
They enjoyed freedom each day of the year,
Because of submariners, like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone,
On Christmas Eve on a sea, far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I fell to my knees and started to cry.

The submariner awakened and in a calm voice,
Said "Santa, don't cry. This life is my choice."
"Defending the seas all days of the year,
So others may live and live without fear."

I thought for a moment, what a difficult road,
To live a life guided by honor and code.
It's Christmas Eve and the boat's underway!
But freedom isn't free. It is families who pay.

The Submarine Service gives freedom, "Be free and sleep tight,
No harm will come, not on my watch, not tonight."
The submariner rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it and continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours, so silent, so still,
Over this young man, amazed at his will.
I didn't want to leave on that dark winter's night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
The submariner rolled over and with a voice strong and sure,

Commanded, "Carry on Santa, It's Christmas, and All is Secure!"

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all submariners and your families, wherever you may be.

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