When You Think of Liberty Think of Me
When you honor the red, white, and blue
When you celebrate our nation’s liberty
Think of the one who’s been beside you
in spirit, in heart, in body…
No being could be as loyal as me, for I am
your best friend, your partner… your family
When our nation was young
I was the runner, carrying messages
in a war that would leave us undone
where brother fought beside brother.
And, alone in the face of terror
I moved through enemy lines,
as families fought one another,
my mission foremost in my mind.
I was the one waiting for you even though
I sensed you would not be coming home
I languished on our wooden porch
growing thinner, until the war was over
and my days on earth were done.
I was in the trenches, fields, and meadows
accompanying you into foreign lands.
With you in the jungles and swamps
and at your heels on hot, dusty roads
or on blistering, desert sands.
I have been first in the line of fire
first to enter a field laden with mines
putting myself in your stead.
I went unflinching, leading,
to wherever, doing whatever you said.
With you I’ve jumped from the belly of a plane
dropping into places neither of us had ever seen.
All for the greater glory and good. All for humanity.
When a bullet took your life I laid by your side
my chin on your chest–despair in my eyes.
Content to have remained with you,
until a man in our unit lifted me up,
carrying me back to the war… as he cried.
When we had parted, when you’d gone home
and when on foreign soil I was left all alone
through no fault of your own I was forsaken.
The government advised you that your friend
and helper; the soldier who’d been by your side,
would not be accompanying you home…
To our home, our country, I could not be taken.
And so it was that we were abandoned
after you tearfully told us we could not follow
the men with whom we had served.
Confusion set in as we watched you depart;
being left behind, we had not deserved.
You left us dispirited, empty, and hollow
for we had given to you all of our all.
Like ghosts were we, missing our souls,
for you had taken with you… our hearts
I have been injured for you.
And I have died for you.
In your absence I have wasted away
from the loss of you.
I’m the scruffy, thin dog sitting quietly
next to the veteran in his wheelchair.
On the hill, the band plays a song
and the man softly cries, while
fireworks light up the night’s air.
Gently I place my paw on his knee
lay my muzzle on his withered leg.
He looks at the small flag he is clutching
then he turns his attention to me.
His eyes are filled with thoughts and tears
but his smile is as warm as the sun.
“Thank you for reminding me,” says he,
“what’s been sacrificed for the freedom we’ve won.”
In the now, we cannot know
who will be needing who.
But what you may not know is
that when you’ll be needing me
I’ll be needing and looking for you.
We’ve been a team, you and me
through the many years
that have shaped this land,
and God has blessed us mightily.
So, every now and then, thank me–
with a look, kind words, and the
touch of a gentle hand…
When you think of liberty
and count the reasons you are free
Don’t forget to think of me!
Copyright © Kathy Pippig Harris
Kathy lives in California’s San Joaquin Valley with her husband and furry family. She is a columnist for the publication “Frank Talk” and a published author of five novels. She states, “Were it not for her need, desire, and love of writing — she would surely go mad!”