A Soldier's Silent Night

Dedicated with love and appreciation this Christmas
to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.
To those who have given so much to so many,
Thank You seems inadequate. May God Bless all of you!

animted military flags


A Soldier's Silent Night

'Twas the night before Christmas,
he lived all alone,
in a one bedroom house made of
plaster and stone.

Soldiers Hut

I had come down the chimney
with presents to give
and to see just who
in this dwelling did live.


I looked all around,
a strange sight to see.
No tinsel. No presents
Not even a tree.


No stockings on the mantle,
just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures,
of far distant lands.

ancient map

Medals and 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.

Home of a Soldier

The soldier lay sleeping,
silent, alone.
Curled up on the floor
in this one bedroom home.

soldier sleeping

His face was so gentle,
the room in such disorder.
Not at all how I pictured
a United States soldier.


Was this the hero
of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho,
the floor for a bed?

soldier sleeping

Then I realized the other familes
that I saw this night,
owed their lives to soldiers
who were willing to fight.

fighting soldier

In the morning 'round the world,
children would play
Grown-ups would celebrate
a bright Christmas Day.

Bright Christmas Day

But they all enjoy freedom,
each month of the year
because of soldiers,
like the one lying here.

soldier sleeping

I couldn't help but wonder
how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve
in lands far from home.

3 wise men

The very thought
brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees
I started to cry.

Santas Tear

The soldier awakened
I heard his rough voice,
"Santa dont' cry,
this life is my choice."

Remember Them

"I fight for freedom.
I don't ask for more.
My life is my God,
my country, my corps."

God Country Corps

The soldier rolled over
and drifted to sleep,
But I couldn't control it,
And I continued to weep.

Tear on Santas Cheek

I kept watch for hours,
so silent and still
as both of us shivered
from the cold night's chill.

Cold Winter Shiver

I didn't want to leave him
on that cold, dark night,
this Guardian of Honor,
so willing to fight.

animated blue stars

Then the soldier rolled over,
with a voice soft and pure,
he whisperd, "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."

Merry Christmas, my friend, and to all a good night.

©Copyright circa 1991 by James M. Schmidt
(As printers in the December 1991 issue of the USMC magazine, Leatherneck)


The poem was recorded by Father Ted Berndt (d. March 19th, 2004) of Wisconsin as a tribute.
Berndt is also a former Marine and World War II Veteran and is a recipient of the Purple Heart.

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MIDI VERSION: Silent Night
STOP the MP3 file before selecting the MIDI.
Arranged by Alan Lok - ©1995 Clubhouse Productions
Arrangement name: Silent Night - CP000023
All Rights Reserved
This file may only be used in non-commercial purposes.
Dissassembly of this file is strictly prohibited!

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A Soldier's Silent Night
[Adapted from the original U.S.M.C. Version]

The original version was written by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt in 1987
under the title "Merry Christmas, My Friend."
The original version can be viewed here: http://www.mca-marines.org/Leatherneck/MCMF.html.

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The audio recording of this adapted version was recorded by Father Ted Berndt and his daughter Ellen Stout.
Father Berndt was a priest at Bread of Life Charismatic Episcopal Church in Dousman, Wisconsin,
a proud Marine, and a WWII Purple Heart recipient.
The poem was recorded in one take.
The recording received a national A.I.R. (Achievement in Radio) award
from the March of Dimes and continues to be played in radio stations across the country.
Father Berndt passed away March 19th, 2004 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
According to his daughter, "All he ever wanted to do was touch lives...to make a difference.
We are blessed to share "A Soldier's Silent Night" again with you this Christmas."

Additional factual information about this poem can be found at
Urban Legends Reference Pages: The Soldier's Night Before Christmas

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