I wrote this several years ago after visiting the moving Veitnam Memorial. The sentiment applies to all veterans.
Thanks for all you give and have given to ensure that we are still the land of the free.
One Name On That Wall
they came home in planes
they arrived on America's shores in masses
eternally joined in the brotherhood of war
initiated in the fire of battle
baptized in the blood of fallen comrades
forever friends going separate ways
but .. regardless of the numbers that come home ..
thousands were left on the battlefield
we brought home remains
we brought home memories
we brought home stories
one lone soldier walks home
Today .. we walk past the memorials
in reverent silence
above it all is the sound of freedom
the sound of freedom isn't the big brass band
it is the sound of a single bugler
it is the weeping of a mother and father
it is the sound of one last breath
the silence lasted a long time
the reverence lasted even longer
all the words I can write or say
pale in comparison
to one name
on that wall
Ron Simpson, Jr.
October 18, 2003
I wrote this for Independence Day. It fits here as well.
It has been well said that freedom is never free. It is easy sometimes, born into freedom, to consider it a birthright. We might lose sight of the price, being so far from it. I have never fought on any foreign shore. I have never spilled my blood defending this glorious nation. Far removed from the smoke of the battlefield, it is easy to lose the cries of freedoms battle.
The sound of freedom is not the big brass band. That is the celebration of freedom. The roar of the crowd is not the sound of freedom. That is the triumph of freedom. Summer dogs and burgers are not the taste of freedom. Sparklers and fireworks are not the fire of freedom. They are just the glitter.
The sound of freedom is the last gasp of a soldier. It is the soft sob of a mother clutching the folded flag. The taste of freedom is the acrid mix of gunpowder and blood. The fires of freedom burn in the hearts of men and women, not in the burning metal rods we wave. The band, the roar, the dogs and burgers, the sparklers and the fireworks, are all good if we don't lose sight of the price of freedom.
Sometime in the middle of your reverie, take time to remember. Take time see the flash of freedom. Take time to taste the coppery taste of freedom. Take time to hear the gasp and sob of real freedom.
Find a way to feel free.