Freedom Is Not Free

Arlington National Cemetery - 1991

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 wondered 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 soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't 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,
Taps had meant "amen."
When a flag had covered 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.

And I thought about a graveyard,
At the bottom of the sea,
Of unmarked graves in Arlington,
No, Freedom isn't free.

Author: LCDR Kelly Strong, USCG
Submitted by: Thomas V. Cassis, D/2/7

Next Page

Quotes Index Page