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. 

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