The following are two pieces that I think best capture the feelings and emotions that come to mind when we celebrate holidays like Flag Day. The first piece is the lyrics to "Ragged Old Flag" as written by master storyteller Johnny Cash. This well crafted piece of music is without a doubt at least partially responsible for Cash's induction into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. The second piece is a rather emotional poem written by former Green Beret, Captain Jon Townsend, USA-Ret. Now that the introductions have been made, grab your cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy. When you're finished come back and click the link for the Flag Quiz and test your Stars and Stripes knowledge.
By John R. Cash, © 1974 House of Cash, Inc.
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 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 was sent where she was 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."
OLD GLORY by Capt. Jon Townsend, USA-Ret. (Green Beret)
I have seen "Old Glory" unfurled and waved,
Moths flying everywhere.
It has been put away too long
Well , since last there was a scare.
I have heard "God Bless America"
Being sung strong and loud,
Why must there be a tragedy
To make us finally proud?
I have heard the people sing
"The Star Spangled Banner"
Who never sung before
With hands placed over hearts,
They let their voices soar
As tears run down our cheeks
And shivers up our spine,
We honor how freedoms were won
And paid for, time after time
We've sent our young soldiers into harm's way,
When freedoms were in doubt,
To battle evil in the world
And to help the victims out.
Korea, Vietnam and Iraq,
World Wars 1 and 2,
American blood was shed to combat evil,.
That's what Americans do.
Now we were the targets of terrorists,
And, as time will surely tell,
Whether you are for or against us, know this!
America will prevail! When terrorism is defeated
And wrongs are ultimately righted,
I pray that moths don't again get Old Glory,
And again the soldier slighted.
"Old Glory" is my flag
And I am filled with pride,
I choke up when I see her wave cause I know
She waves o'er heroes who died.
God bless America.