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A Different 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 slumbered I, 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.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Trooper, 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 in Europe on a day in December,"
Then he said,
"That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
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 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 fall."

"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."

Korean War Veterans Remembered

The Korean War was a war between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in which the United States led a United Nation's force fighting for the South and China, assisted by USSR, fought for the North. It arose from the division of the Korean Peninsula after WWII and the global tensions of the Cold War that developed immediately after.

Twenty-one members of the United Nations backed the South, with the United States providing some 88 percent of the troops. The war also saw the first combat between jet aircraft - such as the F86 used by the United Nations and the MG-15 used by the Chinese - in warfare. By the time it stopped about 2 million Korean civilians, 1.5 communist forces, 400,000 South Korean troops, 1,000 U.K. troops and 36,000 American troops had lost their lives.

After a contentious back and forth diplomatic fight that had been ongoing for several years, combat began in earnest in June, 1950. The Korean War officially lasted from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953.

The Korean American Association of Greater Cleveland gathered at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center to honor veterans of the Korean War. They said:

To our Korean War Veterans. In recognition of honorable service during the Korean War in defense of Democracy and Freedom. Through your selfless sacrifice, the tide of communism on the Korean Peninsula was halted and liberty triumphed over tyranny. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the people of America and Korea are forever grateful.

Veteran John Howard receiving his Medal

Veteran John Howard receiving his Medal

See photos and videos of the Korean War Veterans ceremony.

Gunner's Mate Seaman Devin Adams, from Cleveland, in waters South of Japan

Gunner's Mate Seaman Devin Adams, from Cleveland, Ohio, performs weekly maintenance on the MK-38 machine gun aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63). Stethem is on patrol with the George Washington Carrier Strike Group supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Alonzo M. Archer/Released)

 Gunner's Mate Seaman Devin Adams

Thank you for your service.

Expert Social Security Advice for December 2014

No More Errands; Stay Home for the Holidays

Help Social Security Help the Homeless

One Easy Decision on "Make Up Your Mind Day"

A Hospital Visit
Keeping up with Maury

I want to tell you today about one of my visits to the Cleveland Clinic main campus at 93rd and Euclid Ave. It was more like an event so I had to write about it.. ...

Read the rest of Maury's column on his hospital visit

3 Great Unique Gift Ideas for $15 or less

  1. Superhost Marty Sullivan

    If someone is a fan of classic Cleveland TV, get them the SupeBits DVD full of clips from Marty Sullivan's SuperHost TV program.

    The DVD includes the SuperHost pilot, The Moronic Woman, Fat Whitman, Convoy and the last SuperHost show.

    This collection came from Supe (er, Marty) himself.

    Supe Bits DVD details

  2. Cleveland Cooks Volume 2

    How about something for the Cleveland foodie on your list?

    The Cleveland Cooks Cookbooks are packed with hundreds of the best recipes from Cleveland people. Volume 1 is sold out but there are special offers for Volume 2 and 3.

    Cleveland Cooks Cookbook offer.

  3. For the Catholics on your list check out the brand new We Pray the Rosary DVD. This DVD is a Living Rosary in the sense that over 200 people participated in saying a prayer. 3 bishops, numerous priests and sisters and a variety of lay people all said a prayer that when put together combine to form the complete Rosary. All 4 Mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous) are included and there is an extra Decade for your special intentions.

    We hope that you will pray along with the diverse group of people on this DVD. They are young and old, different races and ethnicities, in Church and outside, alone and in groups. The prayers are said in English, but occasionally there is a prayer in another language.

    More information about the Rosary DVD

    Lourdes Shrine in Cleveland

And one bonus idea for the Food Adventurer.

ClevelandPeople.Com Passport holders are a group that visit local ethnic restaurants and learn about the food and culture while enjoying camaraderie and a great meal. Passport holders get a special presentation from the staff and a special offer at the featured restaurant.

A Food Adventurer Passport makes a great gift!

Learn more about the Passport

Happy Shopping and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

More Cleveland Gifts

Still need more ideas? How about Books, DVDs, Music and Apparel about Cleveland Memories, Cleveland Television, Cleveland Sports (Browns, Cavs and Indians), the Cleveland Orchestra, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Cleveland's own private eye Milan Jacovich from author Les Roberts?

Browse our Cleveland Shopping Guide

ClevelandSeniors.Com Humor of the Week

Bald guy getting haircut

ClevelandSeniors.Com Book of the Week

The last book from the late Joan Rivers.

Follow Joan on a family vacation in Mexico and on trips between New York and Los Angeles where she mingles with the stars, never missing a beat as she delivers blistering critiques on current events, and excoriating insights about life, pop culture, and celebrities (from A to D list), all in her relentlessly funny signature style.

Diary of a Mad Diva

ClevelandSeniors.Com Special offer of the Week

Veterans Advantage, Inc.

Calendar of Events for Cleveland Seniors & Baby Boomers

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Whether you are a Boomer who's just turned 50 (and don't think of yourself as a Senior) or part of the "Greatest Generation," you can learn about issues that are important to you and your family right here on from Cleveland area experts.

  • Don't miss our profiles of interesting Cleveland Seniors and Baby Boomers - Maybe it's someone you know! (Or tell us about someone we should know)

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