Happy July 4th: Freedom Is Not Free (author known)








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 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!

©Copyright 1981 by Kelly Strong


This beautiful poem has been sent to me in many emails over the years, probably because a poem as poignant as this one rings true to millions of people who have lost a loved one.

There is always a story behind the story, so I decided to research the author, because it’s often listed as “author unknown.”  I was touched to find “Freedom Is Not Free” was written by U.S.C.G. Commander Kelly Strong, a fellow Floridian whose dad served two tours in Vietnam.  I’m reposting it here with a special Thank you to Commander Strong for his words that have helped millions to remember that Freedom Is Not Free.

Meet the author here:      http://iwvpa.net/strongk/

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