I grew up in a home where my sisters and I were taught a special appreciation for the sacrifices that American military men and women have made so that we might enjoy the freedoms that are commonly underappreciated. That is because my mother lost her father and two brothers in World War II. (One, an Air Force pilot, was shot at Pearl Harbor, patched up at a military hospital, then returned to his post only to be killed later.)
So, in honor of Clayton, Donald, Jack Westhaver and the thousands of others who have given their lives for the cause, I offer this familiar poem by Charles Province:
It’s The Soldier
It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Onward, Malcolm Gauld