Their parents drove them to the cemetery

because they wanted their family to see…

to understand the price…the cost

for them to all live free. 


As the rain fell softly their parents explained

how it wasn’t really rain…

but the tears of all who loved them

falling back to earth again.


My father fought in World War II. He knew what he was fighting for.

He lost most of his hearing in a foxhole…in that war to end all wars.


“It is but a small price to pay.” He’d say. “This hearing that I lack.”

“For many of those I fought with…” he paused..never made it back.”


“None of us were warriors…just kids doing what we thought was right.

for, sometimes, when it comes to freedom… 

you have no choice but to fight.”


Many people fought in that war…They fought for you..they fought for me.

They fought so we could live in a country…where we are safe…where we are free.


They fought for our freedom to be who we are…They fought for our diversity…

They fought for our freedom to be different…our freedom to disagree.


They knew freedom would not be easy…It’s why they fought that war…

They knew freedom could be a struggle

Of course…that’s what they were fighting for.


I will proudly stand when our flag is raised…I’ll stand from sea to shining sea…

And I will proudly stand with my hand on the shoulder of anyone who takes a knee.


We must listen to one another…

And come together across this land….

We must build a country that, every time our flag is raised,

all the people will proudly stand.


Because freedom is not dictatorial…it’s not oppressive

It’s not demanding….

Freedom is acceptance…it is patience….

It’s compromise and understanding. 


But we seem to have forgotten that in America…

and it begs the question HOW…

How can I justify all those soldiers who died…

and my father losing his hearing…


if we refuse to listen to each other now?

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