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I’ve been blessed to have a long time friend and fraternity brother who, with his wife, sends me some interesting articles via e-mail from time to time.  Over the years I’ve used some of these articles as the basis for extended comments of my own here in The Times Examiner.  This is another of those shared articles that I’ve used to delve into the subject of the cost of maintaining our freedoms—the liberties for which  untold numbers of Americans have given their “last full measure of devotion” to defend.  Their e-mail contained a poem written in 1981 by Kelly Strong that I’d like to share with you:

 

“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 of how many men like him have 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!”

 

Some citizens of the U.S., especially some of our younger “millennial” generation, don’t seem to appreciate  the price that has been paid by their older fellow citizens that has enabled them to enjoy the  relatively easy life they experience today.  But many brave souls, both the warriors AND their loved ones, paid a price for our liberty that far too many Americans don’t even think about.

My wife had an uncle Harvey back before and during a part of WW11.   He had studied  medicine in order to help others, but joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 to do his bit.  Only in his early 20’s, he learned to fly P-40 fighters, and we have a 1942 photograph of him flying a P-40, with the cockpit’s canopy open and Harvey waving at his fellow pilot in another P-40 next to him. In 1943 he was leaving Greenland, on his way back to the States.  He “hitched” a ride with the crew of a B-25 that was leaving Greenland to fly back to the U.S.  Sadly, that B-25 got badly iced up and crashed upon takeoff from its base.  Her Uncle Harvey was killed and burned, and his remains were buried in Greenland.  His parents never recovered from his death.  They became “Gold Star” parents who “paid the price” for our freedom, as did their son.  There’s a headstone with his name and his birth and death dates there in their family cemetery in Ohio, but her Uncle Harvey isn’t there.  I’ve stood by his stone several times, trying to understand why many fine young people paid the ultimate price for the rest of us, and why today’s Americans don’t care.  Or at least don’t seem to care.

The history of mankind is replete with examples of those who have died in defense of their, and our, liberties, in defense of a principle, or in resisting the brutal forces of tyranny and collectivism.  Far too many examples for a short article like this.  But our American history is overflowing with tales of people who have done just that, either individually or as part of a force of righteous warriors who were telling their enemies:  “This far, and no farther”.

I’ve walked several times on the almost sacred Green of Lexington, Massachusetts., the place where the U.S.A. was “born”.  At this spot, the “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired on April 19, 1775.  By whom, no one knows with certainty, although I’m convinced that the British fired first.  This small band of Massachusetts Militia Men, organized by Reverend Jonas Clark, and led by Captain Jonathan Parker (who was dying of tuberculosis), faced down the might of the most feared and best military force in the world at that time.  They didn’t want to die, but they also had determined that as free Englishmen they were not going to capitulate to the King’s tyranny.  Their freedom was too important, and they determined to resist.  I always thank God that they did.

Ten militiamen were wounded during that brief battle, including a brave black slave, Prince Esterbrook,  who was a militiaman also.  Eight brave Englishmen (there were no “Americans” yet, as such), were killed.  You should know their names:  John Brown, Samuel Hadley, Caleb Harrington, Jonathan Harrington, Robert Monroe, Isaac Morley, Asahel Porter, and Jonas Parker (who was Captain Parker’s cousin).  I’ve stood several times before their grave monument where they were eventually reburied, there on Lexington Green.  It was erected in 1799, and is the oldest monument to the War of The Revolution in America. 

It’s a sad commentary on our younger citizens of this day and age, and a strong condemnation of their educational system (or lack thereof), that so many of them know virtually nothing of their country’s true history, mostly because it is no longer thoroughly and honestly taught in our governmental “indoctrination centers”, known as public schools.  They know almost nothing about the Jamestown and Plymouth Colonies who first began to settle British America; they know almost nothing about when America began, when the War of the Revolution began, what country we separated from, and why.  They know little, if anything, about the tragic events of 1861-65, and why the North and the South had engaged in war.  They do  think they know a lot about “slavery” and why the “Un-Civil War” was fought, but most of their information is faulty, to be generous.  What “history” they are taught about our country seems to focus on the bad, the sordid, the violent, the deceitful, and the sometimes dishonorable. But the inspiring stories of the weak and sinful people of our past who, despite their “feet of clay” accomplished great and wonderful things for themselves and for their posterity, have been assigned to Orwell’s “memory hole”,  because our  government indoctrination centers refuse to teach truth to our young people.  (Those of us with suspicious minds are convinced that this “dumbing down” of our youth is deliberate!)

All around the world we see people fighting each other; we see religious sectarianism and hatred causing death, violence, and destruction.  We see the deliberate lies perpetrated by the “masters of deceit” in the MSM and in the halls of perfidy in The District of Criminals and Corruption.  We see American men and women being sent to far-flung battlefields in countries whose populations mostly despise them, and usually hate us--- people who have no intention of ever relinquishing their culture of hate and religious extremism for the “phantom of democracy” so blithely being forced on them and  which few of them believe in or even understand.  Our American warriors are still paying the price for our freedom throughout the hell-holes and cesspools, loosely called countries, throughout the Middle East, even though most of us don’t even think about them, and don’t seem to appreciate their sacrifices.  Freedom will never be without great cost.  We Americans may be required to pay a higher price to maintain it in the near future than we realize.  Federal Reserve “notes” and credit or debit cards will not be accepted in the future battle to preserve our liberties—only the price paid by our Founders, and by American Patriots over the long bridge of time from them to us—will be acceptable “currency”.  I hope that we,  the descendants of freedom’s defenders, will be ready with an ample supply of that currency: fortitude, courage, faith, and most of all---BLOOD!

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