Saturday, May 25, 2013

Freedom Isn't Free

Most of us spend Memorial Day by getting together with friends, grilling and watching parades.  The high school band playing patriotic tunes while young children wave their flags.  Young men in uniform and older veterans, both marching proud and tall, snap their salutes to the crowds as they go by.  As the living march to pay tribute to their fallen comrades, we must remember that this day is to pay honor to all of our servicemen and women who have given their all to preserve the freedoms that so many of us take for granted.

To those who have paid the ultimate price, by laying down their life, words will never be enough to say thank you.   For the gift of our freedom, we honor our dead by celebrating, living free from tyranny, bought with another's sweat, tears and blood.
No, Freedom Isn't Free
©Copyright 1981 by CDR Kelly Strong, USCG (Ret).

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 died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't 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.