Freedom’s Sacrifice

They went to war to battle for the cause,

and gave up life and fortune for their own.

They lived at war. They died and slept their sleep

enclosed in soil hardened like resolve.

And yet they never rushed into the fray

where soldiers died while bullets reigned around.

They never stormed a cliff or charged the foe

with bayonets or bangalores or bombs.

Their blood was soil, caked upon their hands,

Their sweat the sweat of hours in the sun.

Their morning reveille was long before the dawn,

their battle: bundled grain and looming clouds.

Others fought the fight beside the crib—

Holding crying infants in their arms.

They fought rebellion, clothes, and cobwebs all at once

and turned barbarians into gentlemen.

They aged with no one special wondering.

They died and lie unnoticed by the church.

Their children, stubborn, carry on their work

And dignify their death with simple life.

Their little tombstones mark the greatest gain

their nation never thought to ask or seek:

the quiet life of home-grown heroes—here.

The ones who make our nation what it is.


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