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Freedom Doesn't Come Free

Veterans Day, 2001

’Twas a beautiful, sunny and crisp fall day,
November eleventh, two thousand one;
I took my place at the front of the church
With the choir as the service begun.

The Old Stone Church was crowded,
Latecomers were forced to stand;
They’d all come to honor our veterans
Who had bravely defended this land.

This year it was even more poignant;
It had been two months to the day
Since the legions of Satan’d descended
And tried to steal freedom away.

Then the pastor spoke to the people
And he asked all veterans to rise,
For each was to get a carnation
So that they could be recognized.

One by one the men stood up proudly,
Some quickly while others quite slow--
These men were the ones who were lucky,
For these were the one’s who’d come home.

Then my eyes began to grow misty
As the thought occurred to me
That, tho’ we take it for granted,
Our freedom has never been free.

And I searched through the sea of faces,
And my heart grew heavy and sad,
For there was somebody missing,
And that was the face of my dad.

Then a door to the past must have opened,
For suddenly he was there,
Standing tall and proud in his uniform
With yet no gray in his hair.

And, oh, he was so handsome!
And he was so very young;
He was not yet somebody’s father,
He was still just somebody’s son.

But then the door closed . . . soundlessly,
Someone else now stood in his place,
And I looked o'er the sea of veterans
With the tears running down my face.

And the new-found realization
That, ’midst our complacency--
Tho’ we've always taken it for granted,
Our freedom has never come free!

Dedicated to my Dad, Sgt. Roy E. Harms
June 30, 1924 - June 2, 2000

~ Linda E. Newman ~
©2001, used with permission
Read more of Linda's poetry  Here 

Music "When My Daddy Says Goodbye"