Friday, July 25, 2008

COMMENTARY >> ĎMy pledge to you...í

By Lt. Col. John Franklin
314th Maintenance Squadron Commander

Boy, do I love the red, white and blue! July is a month where we, as Americans, get to honor our Nationís colors at Fourth of July celebrations all over the country, but it was at a Mathies NCO Academy graduation at Keesler Air Force base, Miss., where I was reminded of my responsibility to our flag.

Iíd like to share a poem written by one of our fellow Combat Airlifters who graduated with class 08-05 at Keesler Air Force Base this month.

Sergeant Fournier won the poetry contest at the Keesler NCO Academy. This poem below, is now framed and on display at the Mathies NCO Academy Flag Hall.

Next time you hear the National Anthem being played, do more than stop to pay respects. Think about the importance of our symbol of freedom, and while youíre at it...teach your children.


I first saw you as a child when I could barely stand.
Then I pledged my first allegiance with my heart beneath my hand.
My father whispered in my ear how proud that I should be,
Because you are the symbol of the land thatís free.

As I grew, I learned of all the things that you had done.
Youíve led the way to battle, brought home every fallen son.
We looked to you for hope when there was none in sight.
We remember Fort McHenry, where you made it through the night.

Now that Iím a man, Iíve sworn a sacred oath to you.
Iíll fight for your protection and beliefs that I hold true.
You never asked for my respect although you have it all.
I vow that Iíll fight to the death to never let you fall.

Yesterday, my son and I were walking down the street.
We stopped to pay you our respect when we heard retreat.
He asked me why we did it, my boy just didnít see.
So I bent and whispered in his ear, like my father once did for me.

Tech. Sgt. Michael Fournier
314th Maintenance Squadron


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