No, freedom isn't free

Friday, May 25, 2012

As Memorial Day arrives we all give pause to remember those we mourn who have passed from our lives.

On this original "Decoration Day," also pay tribute in many ways to our fallen military heroes who have paid the ultimate prize to help ensure our freedoms, and to all those who follow them into serving their country.

This popular poem continues to impact its readers each Memorial Day.

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.

ęCopyright 1981 by CDR Kelly Strong, USCG (Ret).