The Price Of Freedom

The two armies met in a valley of green,
its carpet of grass now churned to mud.
The battle’s aftermath is a gruesome scene –
abandoned equipment, stilled bodies, blood.

The commanding general sits astride his horse,
overlooking the destruction, the carnage below.
His aide enthuses, “It’s a great victory, of course –
the enemy routed, the nation saved; you’re a hero!”

The general sighs; hot tears fill his tired eyes.
“Me a hero? The true heroes rest there, dead
or wounded. There the pride of our country lies,
young men who fight and die...shed blood so red.

“A victory? Yes, but earned through sacrifice so high.
Consider the lives lost, the lives forever altered this day.
Hear the weeping wives and mothers all asking, ‘Why?
Why did my man have to die? For freedom, you say?’

Behold the consequence these soldiers had to pay,
our future to secure. Remember well what you see
when next ‘It’s to be war!’ you hear some politician say.
Honor veterans; they paid for freedom for you and me.”

Harry Edward Gilleland      11.10.03