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Posted: 5/27/2002 6:05:25 AM EDT
A toast to our armed forces this memorial day, both past and present, we are the guardians of freedom.

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 so 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 tear's?

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 wonder just how many times,
That taps had ment "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.


Cadet Major Kelly Strong,
Homestead Senior High School,
Homestead, FL., 1988
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