Vocal Recording: MP3 / WMA
Reading by Father Ted Berndt, 2003
Source: A Soldier's Silent Night, http://www.asoldiersilentnight.com/ (Accessed Dec. 28, 2006 and Oct. 18, 2011)
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.
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.
“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.”
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.
"'Merry Christmas, My Friend,'" has been a holiday favorite among 'leatherneckphiles' for nearly the time it takes to complete a Marine Corps career. Few, however, know who wrote it and when. Former Corporal James M. Schmidt, stationed at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., pounded it out over 17 years ago on a typewriter while awaiting the commanding officer's Christmas holiday decorations inspection...while other leathernecks strung lights for the Barracks' annual Christmas decoration contest, Schmidt contributed his poem to his section."