Flag Day

I walked through a county courthouse square, on a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, “Your old courthouse is kinda run down.” He said, “Naw, it’ll do for our little town.”
I said, “Your old flagpole has leaned a little bit, and that’s a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it.”

He said, “Have a seat,” and I sat down. “Is this the first time you’ve been to our little town?”
I said, “I think it is.” He said, “I don’t like to brag, But we’re kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag.

“You see, we got a little hole in that flag there when Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key sat watching it writing O Say Can You See.
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans with Packingham and Jackson tuggin’ at its seems.

“And it almost fell at the Alamo beside the Texas flag, but she waved on though.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville and she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg, and the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag.

“On Flanders Field in World War I she got a big hole from a Bertha gun.
She turned blood red in World War II. She hung limp and low by the time it was through.
She was in Korea and Vietnam. She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.

“She waved from our ships upon the briny foam, and now they’ve about quit waving her back here at home. In her own good land here she’s been abused — she’s been burned, dishonored, denied, and refused.

“And the government for which she stands is scandalized throughout the land.
And she’s getting threadbare and wearing thin, but she’s in good shape for the shape she’s in.
‘Cause she’s been through the fire before and I believe she can take a whole lot more.

“So we raise her up every morning, take her down every night.
We don’t let her touch the ground and we fold her up right.
On second thought, I do like to brag, ’cause I’m mighty proud of the Ragged Old Flag.”

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I am the Flag

by Ruth Apperson Rous

I am the flag of the United States of America.

I was born on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia.

There the Continental Congress adopted my stars and stripes as the national flag.

My thirteen stripes alternating red and white, with a union of thirteen white stars in a field of blue, represented a new constellation, a new nation dedicated to the personal and religious liberty of mankind.

Today fifty stars signal from my union, one for each of the fifty sovereign states in the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known.

My colors symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of my country.

My red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and boys and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American mothers and daughters.

My white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.

My blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.

I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.

I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.

I typify that indomitable spirit of determination brought to my land by Christopher Columbus and by all my forefathers – the Pilgrims, Puritans, settlers at James town and Plymouth.

I am as old as my nation.

I am a living symbol of my nation’s law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

I voice Abraham Lincoln’s philosophy: “A government of the people, by the people,for the people.”

I stand guard over my nation’s schools, the seedbed of good citizenship and true patriotism.

I am displayed in every schoolroom throughout my nation; every schoolyard has a flag pole for my display.

Daily thousands upon thousands of boys and girls pledge their allegiance to me and my country.

I have my own law—Public Law 829, “The Flag Code” – which definitely states my correct use and display for all occasions and situations.

I have my special day, Flag Day. June 14 is set aside to honor my birth.

Americans, I am the sacred emblem of your country. I symbolize your birthright, your heritage of liberty purchased with blood and sorrow.

I am your title deed of freedom, which is yours to enjoy and hold in trust for posterity.

If you fail to keep this sacred trust inviolate, if I am nullified and destroyed, you and your children will become slaves to dictators and despots.

Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom.

As you see me silhouetted against the peaceful skies of my country, remind yourself that I am the flag of your country, that I stand for what you are – no more, no less.

Guard me well, lest your freedom perish from the earth.

Dedicate your lives to those principles for which I stand: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.

God grant that I may spend eternity in my “land of the free and the home of the brave” and that I shall ever be known as “Old Glory,” the flag of the United States of America.

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Oh! Thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the STARSPANGLED BANNER
in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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I know that many people don’t think that Flag Day is a big holiday. True, it doesn’t get as much recognition as the other patriotic holidays, but it’s still important. I mean, the Flag is an important part of our nation and it’s history. It is supposed to represent a living, breathing nation. So so many do not show it the respect that it has earned. Did you know that every time you are in a setting where the flag is raised and the national anthem is played, you are supposed to put your hand over your heart, remove your hat (if you’re wearing one) and turn your attention to the flag? Not just when you feel like it or not just at a patriotic event. EVERY time. I mean, it’s something that we’ve all done at sporting events, but how many times have you noticed that you or someone that is sitting near you does not do that? I’ve seen it more than I’d like. To me, it is one of the simplest things you can do to show respect to the flag, to our nation, and to those people who have given their lives for our freedom. Just honor the flag. It’s that simple. You have absolutely no idea how many people have fought (and are still fighting) and who have died trying to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy every day. It’s just something to think about. Try to see the flag as a living memorial to those people. I do. It’s something that I’m thankful for every day. And again, just something for all of you to consider.


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