The Cost of Freedom

He held her tight as he kissed her soft lips

The smell of lavender in her long hair

A whisper, "don’t go my love, please don’t go"

He turns away and boards the train, determination in his stride

As the train leaves he sees her, standing there, with his Mother, Sister, and Brother

She waves goodbye, sobbing, a hanky dabbing her tears as her love is whisked away

The barracks he is in are crowded with young men preparing for war

Weeks of relentless training in full battle gear, in the scorching hot sun one day

Crawling through the mud as the rain poured down the next

Barely old enough to be called men, they sailed across the ocean blue

They stood shoulder to shoulder in the landing craft, the hum of the motor the only sound

There were no smiles as they jumped into the frigid water and made for the beach

The faces he saw were defiant, knowing what future might lie ahead

The roar of mortar shells exploding all around them as they moved forward

Dirt, mud, and smoke filled the air making it hard to see and breath

He knew not how long it was before the night silenced the roar of battle

They dug in, giving themselves a small bit of cover for the coming day

It rained in the night turning the bottom of their trench to mud as they tried to sleep

The sights, sounds, noise, and smells of the day lingered in their minds

The battle raged throughout the day, the dead lay silent where they fell

In the mist of the early evening they left their trench and attacked into the fog

A new wave of explosions and gun fire filled the air as the night tuned in to day

The smell of sulfur and death filled the air surrounding them as they charged forward

As the sun rose he looked around at the body strewn field; the dead from both sides

He turned to see others standing close by, they too were looking around

As he looked he wondered why the others looked so pale

That is when he realised that they were the ones that did not make it

He cried out for the love he would never feel again

He cried for the children he would never hold in his arms

He cried for those around him that would never feel these things

Hundreds of his fellow warriors joined him as the battle began anew

There was nothing more, that they could do, to aid their brothers this day

They watched in vain as they watched their comrades fall one by one

With the battle over hundreds of dead walked two by two into the fog of night

They paid the ultimate price for our freedom; never forget the sacrifice they made for freedom

Richard B.

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