"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."
T'was 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 to see just who, in this dwelling did live.As I looked all about, a strange sight to see. No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands. Medals 'n badges, awards of every kind; a sobering thought came alive in my mind.This house was different... it was dark, it was dreary.I had found the home of a soldier; I could see that most clearly. The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone; Curled up on the floor in this one-bedroom home. His face was so gentle, the room in such disorder; not at all how I pictured a brave, courageous, soldier.Was this the hero of whom I'd just read; curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?Then I realized the other families I saw this night, owed their lives to soldiers who were willing to fight. In the morning, round the world, children would play; grown-ups would celebrate a bright Christmas Day. But they all enjoy freedom each month of the year, because of soldiers like the one lying here.I couldn't help but wonder how many lay alone, on a cold Christmas Eve in lands far from home. The very thought Brought a tear to my eyes; I dropped to my knees, I started to cry.The soldier awakened I heard his 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.But I couldn't control it, I continued to weep. I kept watch for hours, so silent and still as both of us shivered from the cold night's chill. I didn't want to leave him on that cold, dark night; this guardian of honour, so willing to fight.Then, the soldier rolled over, in a voice soft and pure, He whispered, "Carry on Santa, it's Christmas Day, all is secure”. One look at my watch, I knew he was right.Merry Christmas my friend, May God bless you this night.Poem by: James M. Schmidt 1986With a slight change of wording, the poem has become known as "A Soldier's Silent Night," and was recorded under that title by Father Ted Berndt as a tribute.The original poem "Merry Christmas, My Friend"