Why is this? Why do we neglect those who have paid the ultimate price and those who continue to go in harms’ way to defend our nation? This nation has forgotten the agony faced by those who are left behind; the seemingly endless waiting for their loved ones to return, dreading the knock on the door that presages notification that they will never see their relative again.
Throughout our history there have been many who have willingly stepped up to face our foes; many have not returned and lie under gravestones and whose names are inscribed on memorials throughout our nation. Several times each year we pay lip service to such sacrifice, but those left behind suffer their loss daily.
Whatever your political leanings or beliefs on the ‘rightness’ of those in Washington, D.C. who send our men and women into harm’s way; do pause and remember that, as the following so beautifully states, freedom is not free.
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze
A young Marine saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought, how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many Pilots' planes shot down?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, Freedom is not free.
I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant "Amen"
When a flag had draped a coffin
of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
at the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, Freedom isn't free!!
Copyright 1981 by Kelly Strong