Monday, May 30, 2011

"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 with 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 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 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 the 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 is not Free!
                                        Kelly Strong, Commander
                                        United States Coast Guard

Biographical Note:  This poem was written by Kelly as a high school senior (JROTC cadet) at Homestead High, in Homestead, Florida, in 1981.  It is a tribute to his father, a career marine, who served two years in Vietnam.

God Bless America and God Bless our veterans and all the brave men and women still serving in our Armed Forces. 



  1. Denise I love that poem. Reading that brought the same emotions that I felt at Normandy; I wish we could keep that thought each day but I am not sure we could handle it.
    Denise, Thank you so for letting me know how your son reacted to my post. It was simply from the heart but I am so glad that it had meaning for someone else. You can tell where this young man's heart lies by
    his questions. I would say you have a winner in him and I am objective. Thanks again, Fondly Ginger
    Oh BTW, I tried to write the above paragraph in an email to you. Your email is showing (no reply comment) Is that by design or oversight. Often a blogger will want exchange messages that do not pertain to the post or we want to reply to a visit quickly. We use the email notification to do that. It usually makes for a pleasant and interesting dialogue.
    Ginger :)

  2. This poem is so moving BECAUSE it was written by someone whose heart knew the price that was paid. It moves me every time I hear it.

    It's been a long time since I read the poem in it's entirety. Thanks so much for posting it!

    Blessings, Debbie

  3. From Mom,

    This was so beautiful and special to me. It made me cry. I am so proud to have a family that appreciates what we have in this country and what so many gave that we might keep it.

    Thanks for this post. It makes me proud.



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