The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Veteran's Christmas Wish

Words: Robert A. Hall
SSG (Retired), USMC. Semper Fi!

Originally appeared in Leatherneck Magazine:
Reproduced with the permission of the author.

Each year when Christmas comes around again,
I pause on Christmas Eve to take a dram
Of whisky, and I think of absent friends,
And Christmas in a place called Vietnam.

I think of boys who never had the chance
To see their kids on Christmas Eve at play,
Their lives were spent that freedom might advance,
From Valley Forge right up through yesterday.

They fell at Belleau Wood and Normandy,
At Gettysburg, at Iwo and at Hue,
They gave their lives to keep our people free,
And never saw another Christmas Day.

So take a moment from your festive joys,
To think of soldiers who were young and true,
And say a prayer on Christmas Eve for boys
Who gave up all their Christmases for you.

Note From Mr. Hall:

Hue (Vietnam) is pronounced “way.”

Additional Notes from Mr. Hall:

"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." --1st. Lt. Clifton B. Cates, Navy Cross, 2 Distinguished Service Crosses, (later Commandant), USMC, July 19, 1918 commanding 96 Company, 6th Marines, near the French town of Soissons.

"Casualties: many, Percentage of dead: not known, Combat efficiency: we are winning." --Colonel David M. Shoup, USMC, MOH, (later Commandant) Tarawa, 21 November 1943.

Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share. --Ned Dolan

We fight not for glory, nor for riches, nor for honour, but only and alone for Freedom, which no good man lays down but with his life. --Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland, 1320

In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free. —Edward Gibbon

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. -Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

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