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Per Swenson
05-28-2005, 6:27 PM
http://www.usmemorialday.org/poetry/notfree.gif
<small>ęCopyright 1981 by CDR Kelly Strong, USCG (Ret). (http://www.iwvpa.net/strongk/)</small>



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 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
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 isn't free.

Bruce Shiverdecker
05-28-2005, 9:32 PM
Thanks Per for posting this. It is SO True!

I have to mention something said at a Memorial Service here Friday at the V.A Clinic.

The congress has allotted and approved spending 7 BILLION dollars for health care for ILLEGAL ALIENS, but can't find the money to adequately take care of our vets!

I do not mean that the V.A. and it's facilities don't care. My experience with the clinic in Peoria, Illinois and the V.A. Hospital complex in Indianapolis, Indiana has been nothing short of Fantastic. The people are friendly and concerned with doing a good job for us. Both facilities are effectively run; difficult to understand with the lack of funding by congress.

If you know a Vet. Contact your representative and let them know what you think of congresses priorities.

I HOPE I haven't stepped on any toes.................. I believe that this is important.

Bruce

John Hart
05-28-2005, 9:38 PM
Per,

I was a patriot before I joined the military and got more intense after. I love that poem. Thanks for taking the time to honor those who gave it all for the rest of us.

Keith Outten
05-28-2005, 9:40 PM
Thank Per,

It is particularly appropriate that we are reminded on Memorial Day weekend of the huge costs associated with our Liberty. Freedom is a gift from our Nations Veterans to the American people and our debt to them can never be repaid.

Everyone, please fly your American Flag on Memorial Day to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for you and your familly.

Dennis Peacock
05-28-2005, 11:54 PM
Thanks for posting the poem Per.....It means a lot to many who have served our nation in military uniform. God Bless those members still active duty today.

Ernie Nyvall
05-29-2005, 6:55 PM
Good poem Per. I'll thank you for my father who served in WWII and Korea and is now gone. Thanks to all who have or are serving in the military and of course a special thanks to those who we honor this Monday and are not here to read this.
Bruce, thanks for the information. If I didn't know a Vet before, I believe I do now and will call Tuesday. It is funny to watch some of our congressmen wear their service on their sleeves and then turn around a vote the way they do. I honor them for their service, but it always reminds me of the day we put my father in the ground. The funeral director notified the Army the evening before my father's funeral. They drove over night to get there in the morning to ask my mother if they could give the eulogy and the whole ceremony at the grave site. Some of my father's physics students (20 years out of school) who had come to be pallbearers gave up their place at his side. Anyway, we learned of a whole different side to my father as they read stories written by other soldiers who fought beside him. We learned of medals and presidential citations that we had never seen nor heard of, but which later filled an 18x20 frame. Oh, he had plenty of stories he told us, but they were always something he'd done that was goofy and told in a way to be funny. (A side story... Although he bought us bb guns and single shot 22s when we were of age, he never handled nor kept a gun when he got back... except for once. My uncle had us all watching, and after much goading, got my father to shoot one of the 22s. We were all laughing as my uncle threw a tin can in the air and then our jaws dropped wide open as the can was deflected in a different direction from my father's shot.) Anyway, when it was over, I realized that my father didn't actually have two sides. He was a humble soldier as so many are. By the way, I've never heard such a pure sound as that coming from a bugle playing taps, and it will get you every time. Sorry for the long story.
Thanks again to all the soldiers.

Ernie

Bruce Shiverdecker
05-30-2005, 12:30 AM
Ernie..........That is a fine tribute to a fine man by an equally fine man.

Bruce

Arnie Grammon
05-30-2005, 12:36 PM
Very nice poem, Per! And a very fitting tribute to your dad, Ernie. I just got up and got the flag out of the closet. It'll be flying today, in part due to a reminder from this thread.

You all have a very good Memorial Day!