S: A TRIBUTE TO OUR VETERANS Poems by Donna M. Johnson
BC: ISBN 978-0-9884510-1-8
FC: A Tribute to Our Veterans | Poems by Donna M. Johnson Photos by Susan Stinnett
1: These poems are dedicated in loving memory of my father, Russell M. Johnson, who served in World War II with the 102nd Infantry Division, 407th Infantry Regiment, Headquarters Company 1st Battalion. They are also dedicated in memory and honor of all of our brave veterans who have fought so hard to keep our nation free. We owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans that we can never repay. However, I hope that in some small way, these poems let our veterans know how much we appreciate all of their sacrifices on our behalf. Because of our veterans, we have the privilege of living in the greatest country on this earth! Thank you, veterans, from the bottom of our hearts! ---Donna M. Johnson | Staff Sergeant Russell M. Johnson | Copyright 2012. ISBN 978-0-9884510-1-8. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the written permission of the author/publisher. Inspirational Sunsets Creative Writings by Donna M. Johnson, P.O. Box 1036, Rising Sun, MD 21911. www.donnasinspirations.com firstname.lastname@example.org; 410-658-4965 Ribbons of Time Photography by Susan Stinnett, 44 Crabbe Ct. Conowingo, MD 21918. www.ribbonsoftime.com email@example.com; 410-378-8805 | Acknowledgment: A special thank you to Neil Eller and the American Legion Mason Dixon Post 194 Honor Guard and members. Also to the local Boy Scout Troops 28 and 173 and Cub Scout Pack 28.
2: A Salute to Freedom Although Dad's gait was slower He still had a mission to do, And no one was going to deter him From raising the red, white, and blue. I watched as he purposefully strode out to the flagpole And raised Old Glory high. Then he did something that at first embarrassed me But now brings a tear to my eye. You see, every time he raised the flag He would stand at attention for a moment or two, And then he would raise his hand in a salute To the country he loved through and through. At first I hoped no one had seen him And his very patriotic display, But then I began to realize How fortunate we are to live in America today. | For if it weren't for Dad and his fellow veterans Who risked it all so we could be free, We would have no freedom of speech or religion Nor the means to become the people God meant us to be.
4: AMERICAN LEGION MASON DIXON POST 194 HONOR GUARD RISING SUN | l to r: Jim Richardson, Dick Kline, Bob McMahon, Vince Mule, Butch Webb, John Leonard, Myron Wagner, Robbie Wilson, Bobby Holmes, Bob Burlin, Wayne Welch, Riley Bennett, Norman Robinson. Ken Skelton (in back on right). Russell Gulick and Kitty Bennett in front of memorial.
5: Yes, we are indeed one nation under God And are endowed with certain inalienable rights. Although many have tried to steal our freedoms away Our veterans have fought them off with all of their might! Indeed, no one knows better than our veterans That freedom comes at a high price. Yet they were willing to lay it all on the line By giving the supreme sacrifice. So now I understand why Dad raised Old Glory With the utmost respect and pride in his heart. For it represents the values most precious to him From which he never wanted to depart. The freedom to serve God, family, friends, and country Is represented by that symbol he held so dear. For the freedom that it stands for Continues to resonate loud and clear! So thank you for the wonderful reminder, Dad, For I am blessed to live in a country that is so free. What a legacy our veterans have passed down through generations To people like you and me. So shout it from the mountaintops "God, please bless the USA!” For although she isn't perfect, There's nowhere else I'd want to live today! ----DMJ
6: ALL GAVE SOME. SOME GAVE ALL.
7: Rising Sun
8: A Salute to Our Veterans You may not recognize their faces But they've been all over this world, And our heads should bow in gratitude to them Each time our flag is unfurled. You see, most of our veterans are common folk A lot like you and me, Yet they bravely answered Uncle Sam when he called To help keep our nation free. For some fought over in Europe While others went to Japan, Some were in Korea or the Persian Gulf While others served in Vietnam. Some came home to a hero's welcome While others were spit upon and scorned, Still others never came back alive While the nation and their families mourned. Sadly, some are missing even to this day While others came back lame, But regardless of the extent of their sacrifice They never came back the same.
9: West Nottingham | Brookview Cemetery | Calvert | For a precious gift like freedom Often brings with it a high price to pay, And those of us who enjoy it so much Should thank our veterans everyday. So on Memorial Day and Veterans Day And throughout everyday of the year, Let's remember to say "Thank You” to our wonderful vets For the gift of freedom we love so dear! ----DMJ
10: PORT DEPOSIT
11: DEDICATED TO THOSE MEN AND WOMEN OF THIS COMMUNITY WHO SERVED OUR COUNTRY IN TIMES OF PEACE AND WAR
12: Thank You, Veterans! Have you ever stood atop a lofty mountain And marveled at the grandeur below, Or perhaps walked along a sandy beach As the surf washed up over your toes? Have you ever freely traveled around the USA From one beautiful state to another, Or taken the time to appreciate all of the natural beauty Found in this country that is like no other? Have you ever been denied the opportunity to do something Because of your gender, age, or race, Or lived your life in fear of persecution Because you shared the message of God's mercy and grace? Have you ever arrived at church on Sunday morning Only to find the building locked and no one inside, Because the government said you couldn't worship God any more Since your belief goes against that of the public tide?
13: Bob McMahon | Left to right: Butch Robinson and Dick Kline | West Nottingham Cemetery
14: Yes, this is just the top of the iceberg, my friends, When it comes to all of the freedoms that we enjoy in the USA. Yet, we often take these freedoms for granted Each and every day. Indeed, none of these freedoms would be ours to treasure If it weren't for the veterans who put themselves in harm's way So that those of us who live in this beloved country Can enjoy the peace and freedom that is ours everyday. In fact, from our very first patriots who fought for our freedom from England To those who are still fighting in our most recent wars, Our veterans have laid it all on the line So we can live in peace forever more! Indeed, all of our veterans both young and old Have sacrificed time away from family and friends, While many of them paid the ultimate price By giving up their lives for their country in the end.
15: Still others remain missing even to this day While their families agonize over their ultimate fate, And others have suffered emotional and physical disabilities They obtained while fighting those who are so full of hate. So please join me now in making a promise To never take our freedom for granted again, For if our enemies ever have their way Losing our freedom will not become a matter of "if" but "when". Yet, I am confident that will not happen For as our beloved veterans have proven throughout the years, They are willing to lay it all on the line To protect the freedoms and values we hold so dear! So the next time you see Old Glory waving in the wind Or perhaps a mighty eagle proudly soaring above, Let these symbols remind you to thank our most gracious God To surround our veterans with His protection and love! Indeed, we should never pass up an opportunity to say, "Thank You, Veterans, from the bottom of our hearts!" For you are indeed the foundation who has made this country The greatest one on earth from the very start! ---DMJ
16: Port Deposit
17: Flying High To most of us it is just another piece of fabric Adorned with red and white stripes and white stars in a blue sky, But to our wonderful veterans who fought for the freedom for which she stands Seeing Old Glory unfurled in the wind still brings a tear to their eyes. From the thirteen stripes representing our thirteen original colonies That fought for their freedom from England to become the United States To the fifty stars representing each state now in our union She stands for everything that makes this country so great. While her stripes are symbolic of the beautiful rays of light Which emanate from the sun, Her stars are said to represent the heavens above The divine goal to which man has aspired to from day one. Her red stripes represent the hardiness and valor Which our veterans displayed while defending our country so she would remain free, And her white stripes stand for purity and innocence Which is the way God intended all of His creation to be. Her blue stands for vigilance and perseverance Which are traits our beloved veterans have displayed throughout the years, And it also represents the concept of justice for all Which is yet another value we hold so dear.
18: Indeed, the American flag is just not another piece of cloth But is a symbol of the freedom and values we hold so dear, And she deserves all of the honor and respect we can give her Whenever she draws near. So the next time you see Old Glory pass by you in a parade Or perhaps see her being raised high, Stand tall and proud in a patriotic salute And perhaps you, too, will find a tear in your eye. Then when saying the Pledge of Allegiance or singing our national anthem Be proud to salute her by putting your hand over your heart, For she certainly represents the freedom and values for which this country stands And from which we should never depart. Finally, when she becomes worn and tattered Please make sure she is disposed of in the proper way, For she is more than just another piece of useless garbage That one disposes of at the end of the day. Indeed, Old Glory should be retired in a proper ceremony Where her service as our national emblem is noted and observed, And as she is put to rest in the burning flame Remember to show her the proper dignity and respect she deserves. For the freedom to serve God, family, friends, and country Is represented by that symbol we hold so dear. Indeed, the enduring freedom for which she still stands Continues to resonate loud and clear.
19: So the next time you see Old Glory flying high May it be a reminder of how blessed you are to live in a country that is so free, And may we never forget all the men and women who laid it all on the line So that the precious freedom she stands for would come to be. Indeed, long may Old Glory continue to wave Over the greatest nation on this earth, And may we never lose sight that she is more than just a piece of fabric For she represents our most basic freedoms, which have immeasurable worth! ---DMJ