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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 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 mother's tears?

How many pilot's 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 covered a coffin,
Of a brother or a Friend.

I though 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.

Kelly Strong
copyright 1981

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