A spoken narrative of the moving poem, ' A Warrior's Farewell ' ... written by Guardsman, USAF (Ret) Robert E. Joseph . now, intertwined with 'A River of Freedom ' lyrics & song, to honor our fallen. www.ARiverOfFreedom.com
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Susan D. Wiseman - " The Tribute Lady "
Jan. 16, 2008
February 27, 2008
Story behind the song
First, let me express my deepest appreciation to
USAF (Ret) Robert E. Joseph for the use of " A Warrior's Farewell "... AND, a VERY special "THANK YOU" to Howard Reitenbaugh, for bringing this beautiful poem to my heart & soul.
Also, a VERY special "THANK YOU"... to my husband, Larry, the trumpeter behind the song, a Bugle's Across America "Hall of Fame" member and, to ALL the 6,000+ volunteers of Bugle's Across America organization, who step forward to ensure a LIVE Bugler as a final SALUTE to our veterans & Fallen Warriors.
To REQUEST A Volunteer LIVE BUGLER ... Contact
Now, " The story behind the use of the poem " A Warrior's Farewell " as a spoken narrative "....
On Jan. 16, 2008 ... I was moved & inspired to write a new song, " A River of Freedom ", now, dedicated to my cousin Steve, written on what would have been our cousin Guy's "58th" birthday.
As many of you know, the loss of my cousin Steve came just 2 days shy of being 37 years since our loss of another cousin SP4 Guy Lamar Mears, Jr. in Vietnam... losing Steve also came just 10 days after my first visit to The Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C... a very emotional time for me in and, of itself.
CW3 Steven W. Speights served our nation for 27 years as an Army Chinook Helicopter Pilot & Instructor.
Steve was my closest cousin as we were growing up, my heart has been so broken over the loss of these two faithful servants of our nation...again moving my heart & soul...to song.
On Jan. 16, 2008, as I sat at my piano, I found myself seeking out the simple 24 notes of "Taps", something I had never done, and, within moments...there was a flowing melody of notes being created, now intertwined with the 24 notes of " Taps".
As I poured my heart out, once again realizing the "cost" of freedom, and, how deeply I appreciate not only my two cousin's service & sacrifice, but, of ALL those throughout all time ... who, for freedom, gave their blood & laid their lives on the line, now giving birth to the new song, " A River Of Freedom ".
Back in Oct. '07, while at The Wall for the first time, a veteran, fellow Bugle's Across America volunteer & member, Howard Reitenbaugh, said he wanted to ask me to "do something" for him...as he pulled out a piece of paper containing a poem.
Howard told me he had been carrying it around for years, waiting for the "right" person God would lay on his heart to put the poem to music.
As many of you know, I cannot read or write music, nor can I write something just because someone asks, no matter how much I want to.
I am only able to do what I do, when God leads me...and, I never know "if" or "when" that will happen.
I told Howard I would seek God's face about it, but, could not say I'd be able to do anything...and, for months...absolutely nothing, although I thought it was such a beautiful poem & a heartfelt message of what our nation's Bugler's feel as they perform the final salute to our veterans & fallen warriors, I was not moved or inspired to write music to the lyrics.
Another little piece of this story, back in Oct. after Steve passed, I was walking through a local plant nursery, and, I always touch the chimes...I have several, just love them, but, this time...something happened.
As I touched this one particular chime...my heart ached, thinking it was because I was grieving, I began to walk away, but, I realized I couldn't...it was like hearing exactly what my heart & soul were feeling, so I bought it, placed in a favorite place of my backyard garden, naming it "Steve".
Each time I've heard it...I've been compelled to linger, listen...always reminding me of all the fond memories of Steve.
Back to the new song...after having written it, playing it over &
" A Warrior's Farewell "
USAF ( Ret.) Robert E. Joseph
I've heard the crack of rifles
I've heard the Bugle's cry
I've seen the tears flow down the cheeks
Of those who say good-bye...
To their Fallen Warrior
The honor guard's my place to be
To comfort those who mourn
But still the sadness fills my heart
Each time I hear the horn...
For a Fallen Warrior
They fought the wars that kept me free
And now I will repay
To them the honor they deserve
For Taps will end the day...
Of a Fallen Warrior
Honor, respect, and dignity
They earned this much and more
A last salute we give to them
To those who go before...
Our Fallen Warriors
My duty's done, my heart freels right
That I have filled a need
Somewhere a family will recall
A guardsman's caring deed...
To their Fallen Warrior
Tomorrow though it's time again
To hear the bugle's cry
And hear the guns and see the tears
As our nation says good-bye...
To them, Our Fallen Warriors
USAF (Ret) Robert E. Joseph
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