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A Soldier's Silent Night

[Adapted from the original U.S.M.C. Version]

The original version was written by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt in 1987 under the title "Merry Christmas, My Friend."

The audio recording of this adapted version was recorded by Father Ted Berndt and his daughter Ellen Stout. Father Berndt was a priest at Bread of Life Charismatic Episcopal Church in Dousman, Wisconsin, a proud Marine, and a WWII Purple Heart recipient.

The poem was recorded in one take. The recording received a national A.I.R. (Achievement in Radio) award from the March of Dimes and continues to be played in radio stations across the country.

Father Berndt passed away March 19th, 2004 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. According to his daughter, "All he ever wanted to do was touch lives...to make a difference. We are blessed to share "A Soldier's Silent Night" again with you this Christmas."

The poem lyrics are below. If you would like to download the audio recording as an mp3 file, this is the link: http://www.tankmastergunner.com/images/silent_night.mp3
(Right click on this link and select "Save Target As..." to copy the file to your computer - it's a large file.)

A Soldier's Silent Night

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 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 MANTLE, JUST BOOTS FILLED 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, SILENT, ALONE,

CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE, THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,

NOT HOW I PICTURED A UNITED STATES 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 THESE SOLDIERS WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD, THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,

AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,

BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS, LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN'T HELP 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 DIDN'T 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."

 

To the best of my knowledge all military data and images presented in these pages are UNCLASSIFIED, NON-SENSITIVE, and approved for public release.
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Copyright © 2002-2010 Bruce Robere or as indicated.

Last modified date and time: 01/18/2010 13:28