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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1416296-The-Cost-of-Freedom
Rated: E · Poetry · War · #1416296
My son joined for the right reasons. Now he is coming home after failed surgery.
The Ashes Speak of Tragedy



A beautiful fall day in Atlanta,
leaves flutter, drift peacefully down.
Children laugh, adults smile. Miles away,
a crater of death burns the ground.

It was an ordinary day in America;
people shopped, worked in their yards.
Something changed in the land of the free.
Many are lost now, their cries buried afar.

As for me, I sit in a park,
writing and watching children play.
In Washington, decisions are made,
life changing ones on this painful day.

I hear a Mom, "Have fun, hang on!"
She wrings her hands.
Her child climbs the slide,
a fantasy flight, lands in the sand.

Later I watch those terrifying moments.
Over and over, the planes crash and burn.
The plan calls for retaliation: "war".
My sons are soldiers. If called, they will go.

Now on the screen, they climb into jets,
cheered on by people from below.
Service families watch with proud tears.
Their possible price is already known.


By Kathie Stehr
2001

I wrote this poem in stages. After that awful day in November 2001 and as our sons joined the service. We watched Kurt Micheal dressed in his Blues proudly join the Marine Corps with tears in our eyes. Then Christopher Ryan at Ft. Sill, standing so straight and proudly joining the Army. I was so sad his Dad (who had died in 2001) wasn't there. They believed in every word that was said that day. They are what the service is or should be about. My father served on the front lines in WWII and tried hard to believe Vietnam was right. These men are distinguished soldiers and wonderful sons.

Chris went to Iraq and was in a humvee that was hit. He was thrown and his lower back was injured. He tried so hard to keep working as his right leg became more numb and the pain grew worse every day. He spent his duty time there and came back to see his son, James, born. He was then sent to Germany and a neurosurgeon did a new surgical procedure on the three lumbar discs that were narrowing creating pressure on the spinal cord. The surgery was an abdominal approach and Chris has had to take massive amounts of medication both before and after this surgery. Now it has been determined the surgery was not successful and there was another complication. He is disabled now. He and his little family will be back on US soil soon and I see him as a Hero. He paid a terrible price for a war he no longer believes in. I am so grateful he has a understanding and supportive wife, Andrea.

So many soldiers are coming back from this war changed as war (killing is not a natural instinct-it is taught) does to all soldiers. I hope we stand together to support them with their physical and mental problems (like post traumatic stress syndrome).

Kurt Micheal is now retired from the Army Reserves. He was deployed to Afghanistan but returned safely to us.He teaches at a high school in Savannah but suffers from PTSD also. He has a wonderful supportive wife, Megan, and they have three sons.

I stand behind all these brave men and women but believe they were sold a soiled fairytale. It is the US's attempt to change other countries to model our democracy. This has always been proven to be a losing cause.

I have needed to say all of this and this site is a great one to "shout out" both triumphs and tribulations on. Thanks for listening.

Kat


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