The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Christmas Gift

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

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

There is a gift that comes
From those out on the lines,

It is not wrapped in bows,
But, oh, how bright it shines.

There is a Christmas gift,
A pearl beyond all price,
From those who ask for naught,
But make the sacrifice.

They risk their blood and bone
On endless weary tours,
For that is all that keeps
The evil from our shores.

You worship as you will,
You freely have your say,
And all that is a gift
From sentries far away.

There is a gift that comes
From troops who guard the line,
That lets us live in peace
And joy at Christmastime.

We say “Support the troops,”
But hardly pause to think
What honor really means,
Or how near looms the brink.

There is a Christmas gift
From those who hold the line,
And you and I, my friend,
Get nothing more sublime.

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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