Keller: Memorial Day teaches us there is nothing free in freedom

Published 12:02 am Saturday, May 26, 2018

On Friday, “Get High on Life” celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Memorial Day Prayer Breakfast.

The public was invited to attend and pay tribute to the men and women who served our country in different wars and remember those who gave their lives to defend our freedom.

I made many phone calls and asked people to come and show their support.

One couple I invited said, “No, thanks. We don’t feel like we need to be there.”

I then said, “That’s OK” and added, “I know many who will miss it also. They died fighting for our freedom to make choices.”

Thirty-one men from St. John died in the Second World War. That’s proof that freedom is not free.

The following poem written in 1988 by Cadet Major Kelly Strong, Air Force Junior ROTC, Homestead Senior High School, in Homestead, Florida, was read at the breakfast:



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.