Freedom is not free

I watched the flag pass one day,

It fluttered in the breeze

A young airman 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 eye 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 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 the sudden chill.

I wondered how many times

that taps had meant “Amen,”

When a flag had covered a coffin

Of a brother, or a friend.

I thought of all the children,

Of 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 at Arlington.

No, freedom is not free.


8th Air Force Pilot


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