“FREEDOM IS NOT FREE” (Copyright 1981 by Kelly Strong)

Happy Fourth of July 2015!

For today’s blog on AnchoredScraps.com I am sharing a poem “FREEDOM IS NOT FREE” by Kelly Strong.

When planning in advance for blog topics I had originally planned to post something else for today, but it was very compelling to me that this poem had been sent to me via email by two different people this week, and in each case it had Author Unknown.

It is important to me when posting on my blog that I have researched and not just assume Author Unknown.  My google search results found the poem to be attributed to Kelly Strong and I emailed him.  It was a delight to hear back with him confirming he wrote the poem!  He shared with me: “For background I wrote it as a high school senior in 1981 as an assignment for my JROTC class. I have since completed a 24 career in the Coast Guard and am now a Captain at a major airline.”

Here then is his poem.


Copyright 1981 by Kelly Strong


“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 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 isn’t free!!”


What a beautiful poem!  My sincere Thank You to the two people who had emailed it to me, and I am happy to now know who the Author is: Kelly Strong !  Thank you Kelly for having written it and your kind email yesterday.

Happy Fourth of July America!   Wishing each of you a cherished Holiday today with your loved ones as we enjoy our Freedom. God Bless the USA and our troops and their families.

Anchors Aweigh,

Photo upper left from the Star Spangled Banner, NMAH, Smithsonian Institution Archives. “The large Star Spangled Banner Flag that inspired the lyrics of the US national anthem when it flew above Fort McHenry in the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Shown here on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of History and Technology, around 1964. Many pieces were cut off the flag and given away as souvenirs early during its history. A linen backing, attached in 1914, shows the original extent of the flag.  Attribution: Unknown author of this photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. 



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