Memorial Day reminds of freedom’s price

Published 11:45 pm Friday, May 23, 2014

This weekend, we celebrate Memorial Day. It’s a time to reflect on the men and women who gave their lives – the ultimate sacrifice – for the freedoms we all enjoy.

Today, most Americans forget that we are not free because we are entitled to freedom, but because a heavy price was paid.

Let’s remember that freedom is not free and can best be explained in the following poem written by Cadet Major Kelly Strong, Air Force Junior ROTC,  Homestead Senior High School, Homestead, Florida, 1988:


Freedom Is Not For 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 died at sea?

How many foxholes were soldier’s 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 is not free.



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