Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Old Glory

I love the American flag. I love what it stands for - liberty, freedom, and this great country I'm so proud to live in. It is the most easily recognizable flag in the world. When I see all the flags of nations at the Olympics, the American flag is the one that stands out above all. It is the most unique, the most beautiful.

Often times I'm choked up as the flag is raised and the Star Spangled Banner is played. Never has a flag ceremony been more profound to me than when my husband retired from the United States Navy. It was the first time I heard the poem Old Glory. In 1999, no one even imagined people would use airplanes as missiles. Since 9/11, this poem has made many a round of the email loops. It's even been adjusted to incorporate the tragedy that struck our nation on that fateful day in September 2001. But today, as you read it again, think about the meaning, the truth that lay in these words.

I am the flag of the United States of America . . . My name is Old Glory.

I fly atop the world's tallest buildings. I stand watch in America's halls of justice. I fly majestically over great institutes of learning. I stand guard with the greatest military power in the world.

Look up! And see me!

I stand for peace, honor, truth, and justice . . . I stand for freedom . . . I am confident . . . I am arrogant . . . I am proud.

When I am flown with my fellow banners . . . My head is a little higher . . . My colors a little truer. I bow to no one.

I am recognized all over the world. I am worshipped . . . I am saluted . . . I am respected . . . I am revered . . . I am loved . . . And I am feared.

I have fought every battle of every war for more than 200 years . . . Gettysburg, Shilo, Appomatox, San Juan Hill, the trenches of France, the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome, the beaches of Normandy, the deserts of Africa, the cane fields of the Philippines, the rice paddies and jungles of Guam, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Guadalcanal New Britain, Peleliu, and many more islands.

And a score of places long forgotten by all but those who were with me.
I was there.

I led my soldiers . . . I followed them . . . I watched over them . . . They loved me.

I was on a small hill in Iwo Jima.
I was dirty, battle-worn and tired, but my soldiers cheered me, and I was proud.

I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries I have helped set free.
It does not hurt, for I am invincible.

I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of my country, and when it is by those with whom I have served in battle - it hurts. But I shall overcome - for I am strong.

I have slipped the bonds of Earth and stand watch over the uncharted new frontiers of space from my vantage point on the moon. I have been a silent witness to all of America's finest hours.

But my finest hour comes when I am torn into strips to be used for bandages for my wounded comrades on the field of battle . . . When I fly at half mast to honor my soldiers . . . And when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving mother at the graveside of her fallen son.

I am proud.
My name is Old Glory.
Dear God - Long may I wave.


Have a happy and memorable Fourth of July! And remember, God has blessed America!

2 comments:

  1. Mindy,

    I have never seen or heard this poem. Thanks for posting it.

    It gave me shivers looking at the flag. I get choked up during the Star Spangled Banner, too.

    At my house, we fly the American flag beside the POW flag off our deck, visible to cars passing by on the street every day. The flags never come down.

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  2. Mindy,
    Thanks for the great post.
    Happy 4th everyone!

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