A Christmas Lost

by Bill Edwards (Coaldale High School Class of 1963)

In December 2001, as I was composing a letter to a military friend stationed with his battalion in the combat zone of Afghanistan, my thoughts turned to my own personal experience in the combat zone of Vietnam 32 years earlier during the Christmas season of 1969. I started to write down some of my thoughts and the result was this poem which I titled “A Christmas Lost.”

I sent the poem along with the letter to my friend, Major Wes Feight, United States Marine Corps. Some weeks later I received a letter from Major Feight, who told me that the poem made its way through the battalion (via the battalion"rag") and that many a tough Marine was brought to tears upon reading it.

Christmas 1969 was the one I felt I had lost. Christmas 2001 was the one I felt Major Feight and our other brave soldiers in Afghanistan had lost. My hope is that anyone who reads this poem will always remember the sacrifices of our brave men and women who have also lost a Christmas while serving our country.

I remember a Christmas lost,

It held much pain for me-

Far from home and battle tossed,

The joy was hard to see.

But see I could a Christmas past,

To take my mind away-

If only I could make it last,

And live another day.

My memory served me brief delights,

Of turkey and some filling-

Christmas trees with all the lights,

In the midst of all the killing.

I saw carolers joyfully bringing,

The songs of Yule tradition-

But it was hard to think of singing,

Through the blast of a fire-mission.

Most of all my mind would wonder,

To the image of my bride-

And with that vision ponder,

How I missed her by my side.

Would there be a Christmas future,

For us to share at home-

Or would this was bring closure,

And leave her all alone.

These thoughts invade a soldiers mind,

On holidays like these-

So why not join the praying kind,

And get down upon your knees.

Ask God to heal the loneliness,

Of those so far away-

And through an act of graciousness,

Bring them home, at last, to stay.

I remember a Christmas lost,

But the pain for me is past-

For in this life I’ve learned there’s cost,

If our freedom is to last.

May God bless those who have reason,

To fight for what is right-

And may they find this Christmas season,

The peace in Silent Night.