And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. ~John F. Kennedy speech excerpt~
One of my other blogs, Hooah Wife and Friends, (ya – I’m the Hooah Wife part) is the home of Wednesday Hero. Each week hundreds of bloggers across the internet honor one hero. A long time contributor and e-friend, Indian Chris ,researches the suggested heroes and everyone on the blogroll posts at the same time. I have not posted the Wednesday Hero on Kiss My Gumbo, because I try to do original stuff every day. Well, this week, Chris’s post showed up early so he can enjoy Christmas with his family. This post was worth sharing with my Louisiana (and beyond) audience. Hooah and a very merry Christmas and/or quiet day to reflect up on the importance of our freedom during this and every holiday season. If you want to make a difference this holiday season or in 08 for the troops, please stop over to Soldiers’ Angels LA and see how you can help!
Each year, around this time, since 1992, the Arlington National Cemetery has something happen to it. It gets covered in vibrant green Christmas wreaths. The wreaths are donated by a man named Merrill Worcester who is the owner of the Worcester Wreath Co. in Maine. From the Worcester Wreath Co.’s website:
Each year Worcester Wreath donates Maine wreaths to adorn the headstones of those who serve and those who sacrificed to preserve our freedoms. In 2007, over 10,000 wreaths are destined for the annual wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington. In addition, 2,500 wreaths will be sent to Togus National Cemetery in Augusta, Maine. Worcester Wreath also donates ceremonial wreaths that will be used as part of the Wreaths Across America events at over 230 State and National veterans cemeteries all across the Country.
Sometimes a hero is one who sacrifices everything in their life to help others. And sometimes a hero is one who sacrifices nothing more than their time.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived
This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.
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.
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
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.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
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.
I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more,
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.
He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
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?
His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
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.
Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
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.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
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.
He must have awoken, for 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.”
With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
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.
I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
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.