I saw this poem (a variation on the Night Before Christmas poem that so many of us know) just after Christmas. It was too late to post, but I think it applies equally well to Memorial Day. I invite you to read it and my comments. Then spend some time this holiday weekend reflecting on those who gave their last full measure of devotion so that we might have and keep the freedoms we have…

A Soldiers Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

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A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “It’s really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”
“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always
remembers.” My dad stood his watch in the jungles
of ‘Nam’, And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the
sleet, I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not

“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re
gone, To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”


Then with nothing more than a shuffle of his shoulders
and a shack of his head. The young turned once more to
face the cold dark night. Away from my family and his to
the horrors of the fight. I watched as he wondered deep into
the cold night to stand his lonely watch one more time.
Like his father before him and his grandfather too I knew
this young man would one day die in a far off land. Once
more I remember the words of a great man. Never before
have so many owed so much to so few.


I don’t know about you, but reading it brought me to tears. While it has always been the youth of our society that has been asked to fight, and if necessary, die in service for their country (no matter which country they/we reside in), since the 1970s, in the USA, it has been an all-volunteer force. Thus, each person who serves now makes a conscious choice to serve and sacrifice. And the sacrifice is not limited only to those serving but applies to their loved ones as well, who spend years apart from their spouses and children.

Many indeed have given their all—and to them, we owe a debt of gratitude, one that can never truly be fully repaid. Some die a physical death on the battlefield; some later, as a result of their battle scars; and sadly, far too many by their own hands because of the mental stress of what they witnessed and experienced. Things so horrific that words alone can’t describe them. We owe it to our veterans and their families to take care of them and NOT forget them once their active service has been completed. We need to ensure they have the best medical service available; we need to remember them and to TELL AND SHOW them that they are NOT alone. We have their backs just as they had ours. There is an organization that I came across in someone’s Facebook “birthday fundraiser” called Stop Soldier Suicide (https://stopsoldiersuicide.org). They provide help in the prevention of soldiers (past & present) from spiraling into depression and suicide. Many times, companies such as Amazon or others will match recurring donations. I made a one-time donation, then a small recurring donation myself.

“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we\’re
gone, To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

Those words are a challenge to each of us. Many of our members served, and many more had family who did. Let us not forget their sacrifice! Our community knows how important the freedom we enjoy to be ourselves—freedom that only exists because of those who stood up for them. So, if you’re inclined, take some time to visit a local military cemetery or reach out to the widow or children of a vet you may know. Go to a local VA, VFW or American Legion facility and thank them for their service; make a donation to a charity of your choice to support our vets. Particularly, in the case of our older vets from WW2 and Korea who are dying at a rate of 224/day. Their numbers are already down to 150,000 or so, and within three years or fewer, it will be a third of that number. Listen to their stories; let them know we appreciate their service; tell them we love them. Don’t wait till the only way they will hear your words is over their gravesite.


From me personally, I say a profound and humble, “Thank you,” to each of you who served or had family who is or did. Especially to those who lost their service member already. I love you; I remember you; and I am eternally grateful for the freedom I have that you fought for (and in some cases died for.)

Don’t ever think you are alone!




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skippy1965 Cynthia

The Original Cyn, or OC for short. Cynthia is from Richmond Virginia, she crossdresses every day (lucky gal!) and has a knack for tracking down niggling technical issues so we can fix them. She is also on a journey of self-examination to figure out where her feminine journey will lead her, and is always willing to talk with others about their feelings and questions or her own. Update January 2023- the above was written by Vanessa on my behalf back when I joined in 2015. So much has happened on my journey since then. From a shy CD who had hardly been outside as herself to being pretty much full time Cyn 24/7 now. I told work about me and started HRT last year. Everyone knows about me in my life now too. I've socially transitioned for the most part but not sure if I will do anything regarding legal name or any surgeries at all. It's taken mea long time to accept myself for who I am but the site has helped me reach that level of self-awareness. I say dating below but that's just the best status I can say. I have a friend who is very special to me that I HOPE will be more a life companion as time goes forward.

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Dawn Judson
Active Member
1 year ago

Wonderful, Cyn! I think I’ve seen this poem. I’d like to copy & post elsewhere if I may. We should pay tribute to their service & strive to be worthy of their sacrifices.

Ayre Kar
1 year ago

Thank you for sharing and helping us all remember those we loved and for those who served for our freedom. Sharing our journey’s of what life has dealt us and how we coped with it over years helps inspire us to find and be who we really are.

Paulette Parfois
Active Member
1 year ago

Hi Cyn, Thank you so much for this wonderful and heart-wrenching article. I too was drawn to tears. I think so many of us who served have ‘survivor’s guilt’, especially on Memorial Day. I reflect on all those who did not live the full life I have had, and had the blessings of a long marriage, and a loving family. I think the closing words from the film ‘Platoon’ says it all: “….those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what’s left of our… Read more »

Kristine O'Cleirigh
1 year ago

This is very special. I am an army guy going back years.
I am “retired" but still active serving on our regimental executive.
The people in uniform give so much more than asked.
Thank you for this.

Wendie Cross
Active Member
1 year ago

As a military veteran of the Vietnam war, I could feel a real emotion in my heart as I read this article. Thank you for your respect and love.

Tommie Sullivan
1 year ago

Thanks so much for this Cyn. I really appreciate that you took the time to remind each of us just how much our rights are not given, but purchased through the dedication and service of all our armed service personnel.

Joy Joy
1 year ago


Lacy Williams
9 months ago

I have lived in Richmond before. In fact, I was born there. My parents lived there for years until their deaths a few years ago. I went to a few places there as Lacy. One was Babes on Cary St. I bet it is no longer there.

Lacy Williams
9 months ago

Have fun!

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