Yesterday, Friday, I visited with Jeff Hildebrandt, Cowboy Poet. His website is http://cowboyupamerica.blogspot.com/. Jeff graciously came to my law office in south Denver for a chat. I had met Jeff at The Center For American Values (www.www.americanvaluescenter.org) located in Pueblo, Colorado. See yesterday’s post, A POEM ABOUT HONOR BY AN HONORABLE MAN.
We talked about many things. Jeff is a man of profound faith and possesses an unflinching belief in God’s power and grace. Jeff explained his desire to honor God and moral values through his poems.
I shared that my different view of God and faith in no manner influenced and certainly did not detract from my respect for Jeff’s work and for the importance and power of his messages.
I share the irony of visiting with an authentic cowboy poet at a moment in history when cowboy poetry had just been politicized by Senator Harry Reid, (D-Nevada). Senator Reid asserted that cuts in the federal budget would, of necessity eliminate the annual cowboy poetry festival held somewhere in Nevada.
Whatever one thinks of budget cuts, I do find it regrettable that, in the senator’s opinion, even cowboy poetry festivals would not exist but for taxpayer funding. In the words of Mark Steyn (www.steynonline.com .) the cowboy, the great American icon of self reliance and independence, and his poetry, have been inverted to become government dependents.
I share another of Jeff’s poignant and soul-churning poem. If you are like me, have some Kleenex nearby.
56 men signed a sheet of paper; they’d had it up to here.
They would stand for no more tyranny, and wanted to be clear.
56 men said enough’s enough, they pledged to fight or die.
But sometimes we forget the cost when Old Glory passes by.
Nearly half of them were lawyers whose income would be lost.
There were businessmen and farmers who heeded not the cost
but pledged their sacred honor, their fortunes and their lives.
Some lost all they’d worked for, some lost children; some lost wives.
Five of them were captured, they were beaten and were killed.
Another nine fought hand to hand before their blood was spilled.
A dozen had their homes burned down, four saw children die.
But none of them were ever heard to stop and question why.
We remember Boston harbor where the patriots dumped tea
and the bell that cracked while ringing out our new won liberty.
We remember Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and a few
who went on to shape the framework for a country that was new.
But no one seems to talk about the ones who fought and fell;
the ones who gave up everything, the ones who went through hell.
56 names on a declaration demanding liberty.
56 names remind us all that Freedom’s Never Free.
Jeff Hildebrandt © 2000/ 2010