The Cost of Freedom…


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Ancestors have served in the military for more than 150 years, all served their respective states with pride. Even though the Civil War was for many reasons both good and bad, all were still soldiers with many giving their lives for their beliefs. Although the poem written at the bottom of this narrative are in fact my mother’s brothers; these boys served in WW I and the Korean War.  The ancestors are Murphree, Roberts, White,  and Vest; members of these families have served in American Revolutionary War, Cherokee–American Wars, Creek War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict. I also want to honor my son and say thank you for  your service in the United States Air Force.

The Cost of Freedom

Standing in what looked like a sea of white as a warm afternoon breeze touched their bronzed faces three young men rode home in an old wagon through fields of cotton unaware that their youth would soon be forgotten.

There was a time when they were three babies crawling at their mothers feet waiting patiently for warm sweet milk and tea cakes luxuries in their world, a poor mans’ treat.

Their mother insisted they go to school and discover their own dreams she vowed at their birth that her children would not break their backs or sell their souls working as poor farmers in the cotton fields planting, hoeing and picking the south’s white gold.

Eighteen, nineteen and twenty years old, they had never known anything but working the red southern soil day after day sacrificing their mothers’ dream for very little pay.

Threadbare overalls shirtless and shoeless they stopped at the dirt road leading to the farm they called home knowing that this way of life was quickly to end their decisions saddened their father broke their mothers’ heart leaving it so crushed that it would never mend.

They reached a nearby creek at setting sun sipped on moonshine laughed had one last day of fun then left for home. It was no more than a shack but supper always a feast for kings then they crawled into cornhusk beds it was a hard life but a life where they knew that they belonged.

Then one winter day it all changed as proud Americans that wore their pride like armor there was no question they would answer the call, not only for them but also for us all.

It was early morning when their father stood quietly drawing on his old pipe under the old oak tree thinking of the warmth of the coming spring while their mother sat in her rocking chair afraid of what the future would bring.

One by one they walk out the door childish faces broad smiles shinny shoes starched uniforms. Three young men proudly walked down the old dirt road that day no one knew when or if they would ever return but these young men knew it was to defend freedom an endowment blessed with the day they were born.

Mother and father held each other as they slowly walked into their home and closed the door while their three young sons walked away straight and tall ready to fight a war in a land they did not know on a faraway shore.

The window of their house proudly displayed three gold stars the days gradually turned into years their mothers’ heart had stopped beating death had finally stopped her tears. Their father grew old as he walked fallow land alone with his life consumed by his many fears.

Then one day as he stood beneath the oak tree drawing in the smoke from his old pipe while thoughts begin to drift back on his life. He wondered where it had gone but knowing that their mother at last is happy that her young sons were finally coming home.

He stared down the road as three shadowy figures grew closer would he recognize them he could not even remember how long it had been. Their youth was gone their smiles were drawn the war returned his sons now three broken and scarred old men.

 

Author’s Books on Amazon.com
Ann Johnson-Murphree

 

Author: Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

Artist/Writer of Fiction, Poetry, Prose and Thoughts, Opinions Born in Alabama to a Native American (Chickasaw) father and an emotionally absent mother since the Author's birth, raised by her father, her Native American great-grandmother and an African-American woman whom were all grand storytellers. As early as four years old she was roaming the countryside around her home alone or with her father; and at night she sat at the feet of these strong-minded individuals listening to the stories of their lives. Summers she lived with her fathers' sister in Birmingham, Alabama; it was that she would discover a library, and mingle with her aunt's circle of friends that included local writers, artist, and politicians. A cabin deep within the Black Warrior Forest was her playground on the weekends. Her aunt encouraged her imagination by introducing her to journaling, which she filled with stories over the summer. Planted was the desire to write, a seedling waiting to spurt from the warm southern heart of a child. Her love of art and painting came through the teachings of a grammar school teacher which she pursues when the well of words dry up when writing. Throughout the years along with her father, great-great-grandmother, and her beloved Aunt Francis, other influences were her high school English teacher Mrs. S. Odom, writers Faulkner, Capote, Fitzgerald, and Harper Lee. Later in life, she discovered the warm and comic writing of Grace Paley. The vivid poetry of William Carlos Williams; the strong poetry of Phyllis McGinley, and the world's most exciting women, Maya Angelou are some of the poets at the top of her list. Nonetheless, with adulthood, the desire to write buried itself deep within, the dream wilted but did not die. It laid dormant, gaining experiences all written in hidden journals. These experiences, the contents of these journals became short stories and poetry reading to share with the world. She writes of many life experiences in poetry format; questioning everything from Mother Nature to God...the poetry is raw and may not be understood by all. Yet, it comes from deep within and reads of truth within her soul. The harshness that shrouded her life would cause her to withdraw from most of the world; it fills the pages of her writing, the heartache, the abuse, and the denial her mother frankly portrayed. Today, she enjoys her children, grand and great grandchildren, her four-legged companion Mason, they live in Southern Wisconsin...far from her southern roots; however she continues to write and paint daily. Ann has published in Kindle eBooks and paperbacks at Amazon.com: Book #1 Echoing Images from the Soul 2012 Book #2 Beyond the Voices 2012 Book #3 Reflections of Poetry 2013 Book #4 Honeysuckle Memories 2013 Book #5 Sachets of Poetry on Adoration, Anger, Asylums and Aspirations 2014 Book #6 My Journey into Art 2014 Book #7 Asterial Thoughts

3 thoughts on “The Cost of Freedom…”

  1. How sad that we glorify war these days, and forget what it does to our men and women. Sometimes it seems our parades and ceremonies of remembrance leave out the agony you describe so well. Not just that of their parents, but the pain military personnel carry inside themselves when they return to a world that will never experience what they’ve experienced. It isn’t glory, no matter who ‘wins.’ It’s hell, and we all lose. Some more than others.

    I appreciate your attention to detail, and the pace of this piece that conveys more than a photo ever could.

    Liked by 1 person

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