Ragged Old Flag

by Johnny Cash


If you can't hear the music click  here


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 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 _Oh Say Can You See_.
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seams."
"And it almost fell at the Alamo"
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on through.
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 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 that Ragged Old Flag."

 


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The National Flag Day Foundation, Inc

I'll wave to all of you, as you leave
when it's time for you to go.
As you sail from sea to shining sea
take the colors of your home.

Take me with you, wherever you go
keep me in your heart each night.
And if you forget what you're fighting for
remember me, in flight.

Take me out to the battleground,
and then tear me into shreds.
Wrap the bleeding wound with me,
and bind the aching head.

Plunge me into the coldest water
to soothe the fevered brow.
Tie me across the shattered limb,
I'll support it now.

Let me dry the homesick tear,
and hold closed, the gaping chest,
for here, in the field, where hope is lost
I am at my best.

And then, burn what is left of me,
for warmth into the night.
So I may bring comfort, where there is need
and courage, for the fight.

My red is deeper, for the blood you've shed.
My white is purer, for your pain.
My blue will be bluer than the deepest sea
when you come home again.

Then I'll rise to the top of the flagpole,
where my colors are always flown,
and from there, when the war is over
I'll wave, to welcome you home.

~Author unknown

 

 

 

 

 

The Meaning of the U. S. Flag Ceremony

The First fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The Second fold is a symbol of our belief the eternal life.

The Third fold is mode in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world.

The Fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The Fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."

The Six fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and the the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God. Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The Seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The Eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.

The Ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty, and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.

The Tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of out country since they were first born.

The Eleventh fold,  in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our national motto, "In God We Trust". After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the Soldiers who served under General George Washington and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.

 

How to Fly the American Flag

Basic Flag Etiquette


Let's look at proper etiquette for hanging or displaying the United States flag so we can give Old Glory the respect she deserves.

Standards for handling and displaying the American flag are set forth by the United States Code, written into law by Congress in 1942. This federal code does not impose penalties for improper handling or misuse of the flag, but states do have laws regarding this, and most of our fellow citizens expect the flag to be treated with respect.

The U.S. Code is more strict about some aspects of handling the flag than contemporary culture demands—it states, for example, that the flag should not be "printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard." Our society has interpreted some of the rules rather loosely because we're enthusiastic about displaying our national symbol. Nevertheless, some important rules of decorum should be followed.

Here are the basics:

Ideally, an American flag on your house should hang from a staff that angles out from the front wall, a windowsill, or balcony. It's a good idea to screw a bracket made for holding a flagstaff to the trim. Fasten it securely so it won't become soiled or damaged. Do not allow the flag to touch the ground, floor, water, or anything else beneath it. It's also appropriate to hang the flag from a horizontal staff.

Whether the flag hangs from an angled or horizontal staff, be sure the union or canton (the rectangle with the stars) is at the peak. (Hanging the flag with the union down signals extreme distress.) When our President declares the flag to be flown at half-staff, it is acceptable to hang the flag from a horizontal staff with the union down, though your neighbors may not understand why you're doing this.

When the flag is displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be at the top and to your left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be hung so that the union is on the left when you see it from the street.

The American flag is meant to be a flag; don't use it for any other purpose. For example, don't use it as drapery, ceiling decoration, or as a bed spread. And never use it as a receptacle for carrying or holding anything.

Though it is customary to fly the flag from sunrise to sunset, the U.S. Code says that "when a patriotic effect is desired," you can display it around the clock. If you do, you should illuminate it with a light.

If you display the American flag next to other flags or pennants, place it on the right side of a single flag or at the center of a group and slightly higher than the other flags. If an American flag is on the same staff as other flags, it should always be at the top. The gist is that other flags should not be in positions of greater prominence or honor.

When displayed from a car, the flagstaff should be fixed or clamped firmly to the vehicle, ideally on the right side. The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back. The same holds true for a flag displayed on a float in a parade. Don't carry the flag flat or horizontally. And, because it is not meant to be apparel, do not wear a United States flag. If you wear a lapel flag, pin it on the left side, near your heart.

Why bother with flag etiquette when you're excited about flying the Stars and Stripes? I figure that, for more than two hundred years, our country's military, firefighters, police, and other service personnel have practiced these measures faithfully, treating our flag with the highest esteem. This is one way we can meet the high standard they have set.
 


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Links

Historical Flags of the United States

 

 

 

 

 


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