A sailor’s Christmas…

Twas the night before Christmas, and he lived in a crowd,
In a 40 man berthing, with shipmates so loud.
I had come down the exhaust stack with presents to give,
And to see just who in this rack did live.
I looked all about, and a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stockings were hung, just boots close at hand,
On the bulkhead hung pictures ………of far distant lands.
He had medals and badges and awards of all kinds,
and a sobering thought came into my mind.
For this place was different, it was so dark and dreary,
I had found the home of a Sailor, this I could see clearly.
The Sailor lay sleeping, silent and alone,
Curled up in his rack, dreaming of home.
The face was so gentle, the berthing in such good order,
But not how I pictured a United States Sailor.
Was this the hero whom I saw on TV?
Defending his country so we all could be free?
I realized the families that I’ve seen this night,
Owed their lives to these Sailors who were willing to fight.
Soon round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate a new Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of the Sailors, like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help but wonder how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve, on a sea far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The sailor awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, for this life is my choice.”
“Defend the seas this day, the peace do I keep.”
The sailor then rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I kept watch for hours so silent, so still,
And we both shivered from the night’s cold chill.
I didn’t want to leave on that cold, dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the Sailor rolled over and with a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, “Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas..All is Secure”
Modified by Jim Fuqua, USN Retired


A sailor’s Christmas… — 13 Comments

  1. Those were the same type of racks that were on Forrestal during my two year stay on her.
    My first and last active duty ships were both cans built at the end of WWII and the racks were canvas lashed into an aluminum frame.
    The racks in the photo were nicknamed Hollywood racks, and as each had its own light and vent they were considered the lap of luxury.

    Great poem and well done.

  2. Didn’t have that kind of limited space, but the Seabee’s quarters were located on my daily exercise walk and I got a chance to see the Enlisted quarters there. Their mattresses were twice as think as our old cotton ticking 3-inchers.
    I was just glad to have a roof over my head every time I heard the distant artillery while it was raining.
    Merry Christmas to ALL who signed “the blank check”!

  3. Ray- That it was!

    John- Yep, Hollywood, compared to the previous generations!

    Rey- Thank you

    GB- Merry Christmas to you and yours GB!

    Steve- Yep! Upscale!!!

  4. Look like the racks on Kennedy & Forrestal–I served aboard both. We didn’t have the stirrup steps, though–no steps at all!

  5. NFO, my father at 99 still remembers his bunk on the DD 555 like it was yesterday. Still manning the wheel if need be. Caught a lot of 5” shell casings too. God bless all our troops in spite of today’s military.

  6. Moved by that.

    Vaguely on topic: Years ago I’d take Communion to an old folks home in Reading, England. I asked an old man about his life and he answered, “Served on a submarine in World War I.”


  7. TB- Just had to be careful ‘where’ you stepped…LOL


    LSP- Definite respect!!!

  8. The berthing on my cruiser was a 60 man, that is nothing compared to a WW1 sub, those Men endured and thrived in a work environment I have difficulty picturing. Salute.

  9. My Dad served on the Wisconsin. Canvas lashed to a pipe frame that could be folded flat to the wall. I understood then why they were called racks.

    Merry Christmas All!!!