Hays: ’Twas the night before Christmas in a land far awayWritten by Pam Hays | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I recognize not everyone celebrates Christmas, but this take on the popular poem written in 1822 by Clement Clarke Moore is dedicated in honor of our service members who can’t be with their loved ones this holiday season, as well as those who are home battling a new war with their visible and invisible wounds.
’Twas the night before Christmas in a land far away,
Our military is watching both night and day.
The rifles are cleaned and the Humvees ready,
The strength of a warrior, always there, always steady.
As they lay their head down, weary from the fights,
Thoughts dance in their head of other Christmas nights.
They remember those they love; now separated by miles,
And past Christmas memories that bring glowing smiles.
Both seen and unseen, so many challenges and struggles,
The 99 percent who never served remain in denial bubbles.
As the wounds to the brain and spirit remain invisible,
How does our country work toward remaining indivisible?
While the band of brothers and sisters unites,
Civilians, in the name of politics, divide and fight.
The time has come to listen and learn,
Give our military the respect and honor they earned.
Honor and respect don’t just come in a gift basket wrapped neat,
It doesn’t just come in a weeklong retreat.
It comes in the daily living of our warriors back home,
As they work to find meaning, taking to streets to roam.
We spend lots of money and we say we care,
But, when asked to become involved, do we dare?
Do we find it easier to just attend an event,
Than to get personally involved and try to make a dent?
The lives of our veterans are in danger to crumble.
Why are we not on rooftops making a rumble?
Why have we sat quietly all cozy by the fire,
As employers turn their backs on veterans to hire?
What will make America more aware
Of the need for new and better ways to show we care?
Quit saying “We should” and walking away;
Take the time to listen to what they say.
Encourage your neighbor to learn and give back,
And teach the children what they so lack.
To honor the past, the present and future,
By changing a life through gifts of caring and nurture.
When you open a gift on Christmas morn,
Remember families who lost gifts of life they mourn.
Remember the families, whose children still breathe,
But are losing the battle of life’s basic needs.
Understanding and purpose, such a small thing to ask,
Warriors whose brains have been altered from just doing their task.
Losing hope in a future that they can envision,
Many times leads to tragedy from clouded decisions.
Their lives can glow once again in a joyful renewal,
Finding the keys to their success is more than crucial.
It is a matter of life and death and it is what they deserve,
Provide for and protect the ones who so honorably served.
Reach out your hand and open your ears;
Hear their silent cries and wipe their dry tears.
They won’t come shouting “Help me,” no, not them,
But we can hear the pleas, if we take the time to know them.
Rise up America, as you always do,
To take on the challenge that is in front of you.
If we don’t mend the protectors and bring hope as our mission,
We will fail individuals; we will have failed as a nation.
Pam Hays is president and founder of The Arms Forces, thearmsforces.org; (419) 891-2111.